The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Married Life in a Former Enemy Country in Her Seventh Loop. - 8
- The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Married Life in a Former Enemy Country in Her Seventh Loop.
- 8 - All Set For Divorce
『―― I, you know, since becoming a merchant, I have a dream for my future for the first time in my life.』
The former Rishe told a friend she made in a certain kingdom.
『All this time, I have only existed as either「the Crown Prince’s fiancée」 or 「the Duke’s daughter,」 My future goal is to be worthy of those titles. After traveling with other merchants and seeing the landscapes of foreign lands, for the first time, I thought to myself, 「I want to make it happen.」』
『Oh? And what that might be?』
The king of a desert kingdom asked Rishe with an amicable smile, so she answered with a smile.
『I want to visit every country in the world. I want wander the streets on my own two feet, explore the markets, and see the smiling faces of people who live there!』
This scenario seemed like a long time ago now.
With a snap, Rishe opened her eyes and almost drew her sword, which she had been carrying, and readied herself.
Sitting across from her in the carriage was her former enemy in another life, Arnold.
His hand that was about to reach out froze because of the sword that Rishe nearly drew.
「…What are you doing?」
Rishe backed away from him as much as possible and looked at his hand, which was extended toward her.
Today was the fifth day of their journey to the Garkhain Kingdom.
There were five carriages in all, with the knights in the front and rear, and Arnold’s squire in the second from the front.
The servants and their luggage, on the other hand, were loaded in the second carriage from the back, while in the middle was the large carriage for the royal family.
Rishe, who was to become the Crown Princess, must ride in the same carriage as Arnold, even if she was very much unwilling.
So she warned him, 「Never, ever, lay a finger on me. 」
It was a serious predicament that the Crown Prince couldn’t touch his consort, but Arnold, who had promised to 『carry out whatever Rishe wishes』 agreed.
―― Nonetheless, he wasn’t so easily deterred.
While Rishe was staring at him warily, Arnold remained calm and composed.
「Don’t look at me with such disdain. I was just trying to get back what you took from me.」
Once he pointed it out, Rishe looked at her sword and realized that it wasn’t hers. Or rather, there was no way that Rishe, a duke’s daughter, would have a sword of her own.
It had a black lacquered scabbard with a simple gold embellishment. This sword, with the Garkhain crest engraved on the handle, was ――.
She unintentionally screamed and thrust it back at Arnold.
「I-I-I’m terribly sorry!!」
「Pfft, hahahah… It’s nothing. I wondered what was going on. I surmised you were rowing your boat in your sleep, then all of a sudden you grabbed my sword. How can you sleep so well just curled up with it as support?」
Arnold laughed, took the sword, and placed it against his side, while Rishe patted her racing heart over her dress and took deep breaths.
(I’m done for… To think that I used the sword that stabbed me in the heart as a pillow…)
I guess it is because of a habit I picked up during my knight life. When I am nervous or on guard, I feel a little safer with a sword in my hand. Nevertheless, it was bad enough that the sword I’ve unconsciously drawn belonged to Arnold.
「You were sound asleep, so I thought about taking the sword away and making you lie down. I didn’t expect you to sense me when I barely even touched you.」
Arnold chuckled with interest and rested his right arm on the window frame of the carriage with his cheek on it.
「You must have gone through a great deal of combat training to reach this level. I suppose you were so busy that you couldn’t lead the charmed life of a noble lady, no?」
Honestly, it’s impossible for me to say that I lived the life of a man, let alone a young lady.
「―― However, not only did you devote yourself to swordsmanship, you also seem to be fond of flowers.」
I followed Arnold’s gaze and saw my luggage by the seat.
My handkerchiefs were lined with a small bunch of lovely flowers.
I picked these up from blooms by the water, such as when the horses were resting at the lake along the way. The flowers I collected today are still fresh, but the ones I started drying five days ago are ready to go.
「Oh, I didn’t pluck these just to appreciate their beauty.」
Rishe smiled and looked at the flower in her hand.
The mild sweet fragrance filled her heart with contentment. It was the soft and gentle smell of spring wildflowers.
She looked out the window with nothing to do and found that there were abundant flowers, which were rare in her kingdom, in the forests leading to Garkhain.
She would have loved to get out of the carriage and pick them, but she couldn’t selfishly delay their itinerary.
However, she still couldn’t help but feel regretful and look outside longingly.
Arnold looked at her in silence and suddenly remembered something.
「By the way, I’ve got my squire to arrange a horseback messenger for you. I sent word to the merchant group you chose to come down for business negotiations for the wedding ceremony.」
「Thank you. I’m glad you’ve agreed to my request.」
「I’ve been hearing a lot about them recently. They seem like an upstart firm. Were you originally a regular patron?」
「No. But I heard from a friend that they stock the highest quality products.」
Rishe was relieved that Arnold was making good of his promise.
Most royal families typically had their own merchants. It was an unexpectedly a tricky request to get them to use another merchant group.
(I’d like to establish contact with 『those people』as early as possible in this life as well, though.)
Rishe chose the merchant group that picked her up in her first loop and raised her into a full-fledged merchant.
Two years ago, Tully, the president of the company, created a new enterprise, which was still in the growth stage. However, they would morph into the largest merchant group in the world in just a few years.
I managed to get in touch with them, and they took care of me when I was distributing the new medicine I had invented in my life as a herbalist.
Back then, Rishe struggled to win their trust as a herbalist, but it would be much easier this time around.
(I think this marriage won’t work, so I must ensure that I’m all set to flee at a moment’s notice when accidents happen. To that end, let me use all the information I know and my position as Crown Princess.)
I don’t know what Arnoldt has in mind, but I don’t intend to end up just being used. Whether we end up getting divorced or me fleeing, I’ve got to spend my days meaningfully.
All in order to survive and live a leisurely, carefree life five years forward.
With such resolve, I stared at him.
When he stared right back at her with that perfectly sculpted face, Rishe couldn’t help but frown.
For some reason, she even felt as if her eyes would burn when she looked directly at them. His outrageous beauty was not merely figurative, but rather highly destructive.
More so because this was the face of the man who killed her in a former life
Just as her response fell, the resounding neigh of a horse echoed through the air.
「Stop! Hey, stop the carriage!」
A scream erupted from the carriage in front. The knights who flanked the carriage on foot rushed forward.
「Who the hell are you people?」
It was an emergency. Arnold, sword in hand, disembarked from the carriage before Rishe, who had sensed the situation and was about to jump out of the carriage.
「Stay put, and be quiet.」
Arnold locked the door from the outside and headed towards the commotion.
(The Crown Prince goes out of his way to get himself close to danger when his knights are there!)
Rishe was astonished when he shelved her attempt to jump out as well.
Perhaps bandits had launched an attack outside.
The carriage had separate locks for the inside and outside of the door, but Arnold locked the outside. The purpose, in short, was to keep Rishe inside.
(To prevent me from running away?… He even ordered me to be quiet.)
The carriage should be the most likely target. Even if she was locked inside, it would be her end if they managed to break the window glass and dragged her out.
However, now that the carriage was locked outside, she had no way to get out.
As Rishe looked around for something she could use, she noticed an accessory pin she was wearing in her hair.
(…I’ve missed this one.)
Rishe took off her hairpin, twisted the pin in the doorway, and took a trip down memory lane.
(When I was a handmaiden, I used to forcibly unlock a door because my young lady refused to study and would immediately lock herself in her room…)
With the pin ready, the simple carriage lock was immediately unlocked.