A ball will be held at the castle tonight.
The ball…makes me remember that fateful night when Prince Francis and Ella met.
That day, I was up close, seeing the dreamy sight of two people destined to meet.
In a beautiful dress of shades like the Northern Lights, Ella looked like a real princess. I was completely unaware, to my shame, that it was my step-sister whom I see all the time.
The prince fell in love with Ella.
Unfortunately, though, it seems that Ella’s romantic interest was not for the prince, but for the wizard who changed her fate.
The prince’s love, which was cut off before it could blossom, was surely still with him now.
Maybe it’s still making him suffer.
But …that, too, will soon be over.
I’m sure Princess Priscilla will end it.
“Princess, what shall we do about your dress tonight?”
“Well… can you pick something calming for me?”
I’m just a supporting character.
I must not stand in the way of the main character.
I will watch the two of you get together and step aside as if nothing has happened.
Of course, though, I’ll get a decent amount of alimony!
Just like that day, a large number of people attired in their finery fill the castle hall. Among them, Princess Priscilla, dressed in a bright vermilion dress, is the one who catches my eye.
When the prince and I enter side by side, a great deal of applause greets us.
Still, in their hearts, they all think that Priscilla Princess is more suitable for the prince’s consort than…me.
What a paranoid thought.
“Thank you, Prince Francis, for such a very lovely ball!”
Princess Priscilla immediately came over and is happily talking to the prince.
Hah, they do look good together when you see them up close…
”Prince, would you be willing to dance with me?”
The petite Princess Priscilla looked up as she invited the prince to do so.
Her large eyes were bright and lush, and the way her long eyelashes cast shadows was a marvel to behold.
I don’t think she’s the same kind of human as I am.
“I don’t mind, but I’ve decided my first dance will be with my princess.”
The prince slid his arm around my waist as he said that.
No, no, no, don’t worry about me.
Or is this a plan to make Princess Priscilla jealous? You shouldn’t do that kind of thing, because it will seriously hurt the person you did it to!
“Prince, don’t worry about me–“
“I knew it. It’s not right!”
Princess Priscilla’s loud voice drowned out my words for the prince to dance with her.
I blink in surprise, and Princess Priscilla turned to me with her wide eyes…and glared at me.
The prince takes a step forward to protect me as I involuntarily gulp.
Then, the next moment–
“Come to your senses, Prince Francis. That woman has deceived you!”
Princess Priscilla exclaimed, pointing at me with her slender finger.
“When I came to this country, I asked many people about the prince and his princess. Then I heard many interesting stories about her. ‘The princess who appeared at the ball that day was incredibly beautiful. Unlike the current princess,’ they said!”
Princess Priscilla’s large eyes stared at me as if she were avenging her parents that I’d killed.
As for me, on the other hand, I could only dumbly open my mouth, unable to keep up with the current situation.
“According to my magician, he observed a particularly strong magic power that day, and even now, he can feel a faint magic power from the princess… You understand it by now, right?”
Before I knew it, all was quiet around me.
Princess Priscilla is smiling so adorably that I almost fall in love with her.
But what comes out of her mouth are words that condemn me.
“Princess Adelina is a witch who uses forbidden magic to charm and manipulate Prince Francis! Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t allow such an outrageous thing to happen!”
After a moment in a daze, I was slowly beginning to understand Princess Priscilla’s words.
… Not good. Very bad.
Because what she said was partially correct.
That fateful day… Ella came to the ballroom with the help of a wizard. Those beautiful dresses and glass slippers must have been made by magic. And I… I’m not the person the prince had first met that day.
Well, it’s not surprising that Princess Priscilla would be so mistaken… I can’t help but think that. But there was no way I could say that. If I tell the truth, it would hurt the prince’s honor.
“Why don’t you say something, Princess Adelina?”
Princess Priscilla smiled victoriously.
I… What should I do?
When I thought about it, an idea popped into my head.
… Yes. This could be our chance. I’m sure Prince Francis plans to accept Princess Priscilla as his bride. The only problem with that is the fact that I’m the provisional consort. Even if the prince decides to divorce me, rumors of disgrace will follow.
On the other hand, if I were the “wicked witch who misled the prince with forbidden magic,” the prince would be a one-sided victim. It’s all my fault. Prince Francis and Princess Priscilla will be united in true love and will have a happy ending.
Once I accept Princess Priscilla’s accusations as true, everything will be fine… though, I have no idea if my head will stay connected to my body.
The moment I was about to open my mouth to fully acknowledge Princess Priscilla’s story–
“Is that all you want to say?”
I gulped at the sudden, frosty voice that came out of nowhere.
Eh, I haven’t said anything yet…! But it seems that the target of the prince’s words was not me. Because the person in the destination of his gaze is unmistakably Princess Priscilla with her drawn face.
“So, so that witch–“
“Shut up. If you insult my princess any further, I will not forgive you, even if you are the princess of an ally.”
At the prince’s sharp, blade-like words, Princess Priscilla hurriedly covered her mouth with her hand.
Seeing that, the prince laughs mockingly.
“Hmph, you have enough brain to understand my words. You’ve saved your life. If you continued any further, I would have taken your head.”
No, no, no, let’s not sound like such an unlikable tyrant! Princess Priscilla may have just misunderstood, so let’s just make me look bad and get it over with, okay?
I pulled at his sleeve lightly to say so, and the prince glanced back at me.
Then he laughed softly.
“Don’t worry, Aroelina. I would never let anyone sully you with such muck.”
… Under such circumstances, my heart inadvertently fluttered.
The prince’s smile and words were so destructive that even the fact he still got my name wrong flew away.
Patting my head lightly as I dropped my gaze, the prince looked around in a circle.
“I apologize for this disturbance, everyone… Regarding the suspicions Princess Priscilla had, I will explain them to you.”
I panicked and looked up as I heard these words.
No, you can’t. You have done nothing wrong. There is no need for you to be hurt at all. Let the truth sink to the bottom of the ocean. You can make me look bad as much as you want. I just want you to be happy!
“That day, the one I danced with–“
“Was me. ♡”
The bright voice heard at that time brought all eyes of those present to the hall entrance. It was Ella, my sister, who wore the same dress as at the fateful ball. Next to her is the wizard in a black robe.
“That’s… The princess from that day!”
“Yes, that dress and the glass slippers… There’s no doubt about it!”
“Then, what about Princess Adelina …?”
Ella and the wizard walked proudly towards me, holding hands without regard to the confused gazes of those around them. When she got closer, Ella rushed over and hugged me vigorously.
“Oh, I’ve missed you, Adelina! Oh, you’re looking a little pale. Are you okay? Are you eating well?”
“You know what, Ella? That’s not the most important thing right now!”
“Come to think of it, yes. Hehe, I’m glad we came back at just the right time!”
With a graceful movement, Ella looked around her. The hem of her dress fluttered and fluttered, and everyone let out a sigh of admiration at her beauty.
“Good day, everyone. I am one of the people who is part of the recent commotion. Therefore, I will be happy to explain it to you.”
Ella smiles and opens her mouth as if nothing were happening.
“On the day of that ball, I asked the wizard to prepare this dress and glass shoes for me. And I danced with Prince Francis… It was such a wonderful, fun time.”
Ella squints as if nostalgic for the time that has passed.
“But that was only one night. Now I have the wizard, and Adelina has the prince… So, is there a problem?”
This time Prince Francis opened his mouth to supplement Ella’s words in a challenging manner.
“I apologize for making everyone concerned. However, I want everyone to see her for who she is now, not the illusion of that day. Is there anyone who thinks there was something wrong with her as my princess?”
… No matter how I think about it, I am incapable of doing anything but failing. But despite my inner panic, everyone around me looks at each other and nods at each other.
“Princess Adelina is a resourceful person. As a future queen, she couldn’t be a better gem than this.” It was the Secretary of Justice who said that.
Oh, there’s no reason for you to wag your tail at me at this point!
“Princess Adelina always has interesting stories to tell. Even the talk about growing organics that’s so popular right now started with Princess Adelina.”
The one who smiled gracefully after saying that was the Duchess who invited me to her tea party many times…Is that so. I thought everyone was talking about the fields and vegetables lately but didn’t realize it was due to me…
“Princess Adelina’s outfits are always lovely, aren’t they? It’s so relaxed, and yet it doesn’t detract from her beauty.”
“I hated that cluttered, flashy style of decorating! I’m glad Princess Adelina discontinued it!”
“I hear all the nobles ladies are desperate not to be left behind, so they have recently started studying to become like Princess Adelina.”
“The ambassador from the neighboring country was amazed, you know. He said the people of this country have all become more diligent in the short time that he has not seen them.”
… Embarrassing. It’s very, very embarrassing.
I’m not as great as you people make me out to be!
I’m just a woman trying to get alimony from a divorce because I want to live comfortably in the country!
“… Did you hear that Alina? They can’t think of anyone more worthy of being my princess than you, it seems.”
For some reason, the prince seems happy to talk to me.
I shake my head in a huff, and he chuckles.
“But there is magic power coming from Princess Adelina at this moment, too… Eee!”
Princess Priscilla was still trying to cling to the prince, but he glared at her, and she cowered like a frog staring at a snake.
Prince, that’s enough of that, please.
“Let me explain that for you.”
The wizard who had been idling around hand in hand with Ella came over to us.
“As for the matter of Princess Priscilla feeling faint magic power from my sister-in-law – Princess Adelina, I feel the same thing.”
Who is your sister-in-law?
… I wanted to complain, but it’s not the time.
What do you mean you can feel magic from me!
“Perhaps my sister-in-law has the same kind of magical predisposition like me. So she’s subconsciously cast a spell on herself.”
The wizard comes in front of me and gently takes my hand in his.
The next moment, though, his hand was slapped away by Prince Francis.
“… Don’t touch my princess without permission.”
“I’m sorry about that. But don’t worry, Prince. She’s Ella’s sister, so she’s like family to me, too.”
No, no, no, I still think you’re suspicious!
…The wizard laughs pointedly at me as I struggle to resist telling this to him.
“My sister-in-law is a skeptical and cautious person. And thoughtful. So… She put a spell on herself so that she wouldn’t accidentally fall in love with the prince by mistake.”
“I did magic on myself …?”
“Well, for a wizard, a name has deep meaning. So, you cast a spell so that the prince couldn’t say your name correctly … In a sense, you cast a curse. You wouldn’t fall in love with someone who gets your name wrong, would you?”
… I’m sorry.
Oh… I can feel the prince’s intense gaze on me, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at him.
I’m sorry, Prince. It was my fault he never said my name correctly…
“How can I break the curse?” The prince asked.
Then a happy Ella hugged the wizard and replied.
“Prince. The answer is always that it’s true love that breaks the curse. If the prince truly loves my sister, then he should be able to break the curse and call her true name.”
When the prince heard Ella’s words, he turned straight to me. His eyes were gentle to all intents and purposes… They held a definite heat.
“… At first, it was just to cover up the situation. I was going to divorce you whenever I got the chance… I’m the worst.”
“No, it’s only natural for you to have thought so.”
I used to wish that I could get a quick divorce too!
But the truth is…
“Gradually, every time I visited the detached palace to see you, I felt more and more at peace. You’ve shown more skill than a master chef when it comes to getting me to eat carrots.”
I couldn’t help but be aware of my cheeks flushing at the prince who smiled so mischievously.
“Even though I didn’t even give you proper training, you have fulfilled your role as a princess admirably. Every time your fame grew, I was as proud as I could be…And I knew I couldn’t be without you anymore.”
The prince’s beautiful, jewel-like eyes stared straight at me.
No, I’m not a person worthy of having you talk to me like that.
I think that, and yet I wish for it. But maybe…
“Do you remember the starry sky we saw at the lake that day? You desperately wished upon a star. I made a wish, too. I wished for you… That we could continue to be together.”
My eyelids burned, and tears welled up in my eyes.
The secret dream hidden in the depths of my heart is about to overflow. This is also your fault … Prince.
The prince gently wipes my tears from my cheeks with his fingertips.
“Maybe you and I weren’t destined to be together. But that doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve decided to stop wavering, to stop hesitating.”
Gently cupping my cheek, the prince informed me.
“Now… I only love you… Adelina.”
The prince correctly called my name. At that moment, the sound of the bells announcing the midnight hour rang out.
“…You’ve broken the spell.”
Was it the wizard or Ella who muttered that so quietly?
The prince broke the spell on me. He lifted it.
My heart, which I had been desperately trying to hide from him, seemed to have been lifted along with it.
“I have always been…!”
The passionate feelings that flow from deep within my heart… Surely this is the love I had locked away.
You’ve slowly fallen in love with me, but from the first moment, I met you… Always.
“Always, you’ve been…!”
I reached out my hand impulsively, and the prince hugged me tightly.
I’m an ordinary person with only weak magical powers.
Obviously, I don’t have a glass slipper or a pumpkin carriage.
I’m the daughter of a nobleman, but I’m not a princess. If I went to a ball, the prince wouldn’t ever look at me.
We’re going to live happily ever after… I mean, I don’t think everything is going to be perfect.
But I still love you.
When the bell rings at midnight, even if the magic is broken…I promise to stay by your side.