It’s really been a while huh. I guess no more making promises as to release frequencies… Oh well, that’s life I suppose. If anyone actually feels strongly enough about the speed of translation for this series feel free to send me an invite for collab I guess. Or just do it on your own, not like I can really stop you. Anyways, to the people who still haven’t forgotten about this story, here’s chapter 15. Enjoy!
P.S. Just wanna give a shout out to the wonderful Kudarajin, since discovering fluffy (and insanely fast) translations of Hokuou brought me back to reading (and finding time to translate) novels again.
“Eh, ah… Ahh! Good morning!”
Tina got up energetically and lowered her head. Lilia gave a small sigh and brought her gaze to Tina with a glare. Just that was enough to shatter Tina’s expression.
“Umm, I mean… Morning, Lilia.”
With Lilia’s nod of approval, Tina let out a sigh of relief.
“Well then, what are you doing in a place like this?”
“Ah, I was waiting for you, Lilia.”
The bad premonition was spot on. With her cheeks stiffening, Lilia somehow managed to maintain her smile.
“Ohh. How come?”
“I just wanted to talk a little… And well, I wondered if becoming friends was really just a dream or not… Hey, Lilia. We’re really friends now, right?”
Tina asked with upturned eyes. This made Lilia’s eyes waver for just a moment before she returned her gaze to Tina. To be honest, she had intended to avoid her, along with the matter of the prince. She had spoken for the sake of not having to meet if it could be helped.
“What are you talking about? Mistress Lilia would never go back on her word.”
Lilia froze at Alisa’s words.
“Th-that’s right isn’t it! It is as Miss Alisa says. I don’t know what got into me!”
“Of course. This is Mistress Lilia we’re talking about here. There is no mistake about that.”
What’s with all this confidence here, thought Lilia.
—Deep… That really hit deeply…
Ah, ahaha… Don’t mind it, Lilia…
It seemed like all her options for avoiding Tina had disappeared. Heaving a heavy sigh, Lilia sat down across from Tina. Noticing this, Alisa also took a seat beside, and Tina happily started pouring the black tea into their cups.
“Well then, what shall we talk about?”
“Eh? Ah… I hadn’t thought about that…”
At that, Tina fell into silence, and Lilia and Alisa were also rendered speechless. To invite someone without having prepared any topic to talk about, what was this girl thinking? As Lilia was narrowing her eyes at the situation, Sakura’s voice forced itself between her thoughts.
—Lilia. There’s no preparation for just talking with a friend you know.
—Is that so?
—Yeah. Not for me anyways.
—Ahh, that’s why you’re like that huh.
—Hey wait a minute, whatever could you mean by that!
Ignoring the noisy complaints from Sakura, Lilia looked at Tina. Their eyes meeting, Tina clapped her hands with an “Oh right”.
“Today, you don’t have any makeup on huh. I almost didn’t recognise you.”
Lilia’s movements froze, and Alisa’s cheeks cramped up as Sakura laughed in amusement.
—She went headfirst into treading on a landmine huh! Lilia, Tina doesn’t know anything, so no getting mad okay?
—Please rest assured. Since my anger is all directed at you.
—Nothing about that brings me rest or assurance though!?
After a short exchange with Sakura, she managed to calm her brewing agitation. Once again fixing the smile that was about to fall off her face, she replied.
“I was told that it didn’t really suit me. That it was fine to just go like this. Does it look strange after all?”
“That’s not true at all! Your current look is much better. As I thought, it seems that Lilia is quite a beauty after all.”
“Eh? Then that means up until now… Eh?”
Lilia’s eyes widened, and as if realising she had said something inappropriate, Tina hurriedly averted her eyes, casting her gaze at Alisa. Alisa herself was busily drinking her tea as if to stay completely uninvolved with this. A voice going “what’s with this” was echoing through Lilia’s head.
Lilia properly thought over Tina’s words, and coming to an understanding, she smiled feebly.
—Sakura. It seems my sense of aesthetics are quite off, so from now on I’ll be counting on you.
—Escaping from reality’s no good you know? Let’s work through this together.
Sakura’s words pierced deep into her chest. Though a part of her was glad that Sakura had let her know, at the same time, thinking back, if this one hadn’t said anything, she wouldn’t have had to taste such grief. However, looking in the long term, it was still good to have realised after all, so she decided to not say anything.
“Tina. Alisa. If you have some time, could you perhaps think of some more suitable makeup for me?”
When Lilia said so, Alisa made a wry smile, and Tina stiffened in surprise for a moment. Then, she immediately smiled and nodded.
“Okay! Leave it to me!”
After that, as if the tension was released, their conversation continued with idle chatter. The talk about Tina’s family was mostly highlighted with talk about the pet they were keeping at home. However, during their conversation, it was clear that one certain topic was being avoided.
“Tina. So this is where you were.”
Suddenly, the voice of the Mr. Avoided Conversation Topic himself came from behind Lilia. Lilia’s expression froze with her movements while Alisa took a glance at the owner of the voice, then looked worriedly at Lilia, and Tina’s expression, perhaps from restlessness, had distorted ever so slightly.
“Your Highness… You seem to be quite early today.”
Tina said, putting on a veil of calmness. However, she did not even bother trying to conceal the trembling in her voice. Perhaps not noticing, or maybe even just pretending to not notice, the source of the first voice, the prince of this country, simply continued the conversation.
“Yeah. I heard that Lilianne had returned. So I was worried about you and left a little earlier. Aren’t you quite early yourself today. You’re usually a bit later than this.”
“Yes. That’s… I thought, I’d have a little chat…”
The Prince took a few steps and moved beside Tina. Then he saw Lilia’s face. Since it wouldn’t do turn away from The Prince, Lilia also put on a forced smile and faced him.
And so, the Prince opened his mouth.
“A fresh face huh. New friend of Tina’s?”
Tina and Alisa had their breath catch in their throat. This Prince’s words were completely beyond their expectations. Lilia completely blanked out, with a completely dumbfounded expression on her face.
“Yo-Your Highness. Do you really not know?”
“Nn? Have we also met before? Now that you mention it, I do somewhat recall…”
It seems The Prince finally makes his appearance.