Chapter 19: Sometimes You Have to Bet on It

“Hey, Shu-chan.
The moon looks beautiful, doesn't it?”
“Huh? Is it? I think it's pretty cloudy.”
“No, that's wrong! It is said that 'Tsuki ga kireidesu ne (月が綺麗ですね)' is the Japanese translation of 'I love you'.
It is based on an anecdote about Soseki Natsume's* translation of the English version of the sentence.
 A stylish reply is 'I can die happy (Shindemoī wa (死んでもいいわ))'.
This one is said to be based on Futabatei Shimei's** translation of Russian literature.
Both stories lack authenticity, though.”
“The guy says 'I can die happy'? How girly.”
okay, you ask, then.”
“What is it?”
The moon is beautiful, isn't it?”
” …! I can die happy.”




  After the dance between His Majesty the King and the Queen ended, many couples stepped into the dance hall, with all the young ladies adorned with a white flower in their hair.

 Before I knew it, His Highness Ethan held onto my hand, and I was forced to follow his lead.

 Moving in rhythm to the music and stepping lightly, we embrace like a married couple and dance round and round.

 Prince Ethan's lead was perfect, like a longtime dance partner.

 I love dancing, and while my pride in my accomplishments is biased, I think I'm a decent dancer.

 Still, it would be extremely difficult to dance at close range if His Highness Ethan wasn't good enough to pull it off.
What kind of instruction did the instructor give?

 People's eyes were constantly following me while I danced.
 It was already known that I had broken off my engagement with His Highness Garrett.
Then His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, who normally does not attend balls and rarely dances, appeared.
Naturally, we were the center of attention.

 Because the Crown Prince showed up at the ball? Because he was dancing? Unfortunately, it was not such a kind gaze.
 In addition, Mother's gaze was also severe, but it was for a different reason …

 Our two princes share fine eyebrows, but have a stark contrast in appearance.
 While His Royal Highness Prince Ethan has a handsome face and wild strength just like His Majesty the King, His Royal Highness Prince Garrett has inherited the Queen's gentle and beautiful looks.

 Both are very popular among unmarried daughters, but Ethan, who is engaged to a princess from a neighboring country, is receiving as much or more attention as Garrett, who has an open betrothal position.

 This is a phenomenon unique to the Kingdom of Lendor, where love matches are common.
 In the monogamous Kingdom of Lendor, even the king can only have one wife.
However, for the royal family, marriage could not be free of political aspects, and as a result, they sometimes had lovers with whom they could truly have a heart-to-heart.

 Of course, whether or not a mistress was acceptable was a matter of personal taste.
 Still, there are a certain number of daughters who desire to be freed from the heavy responsibility of being Queen or crown princess and simply be loved… even if this is something that I cannot accept at all.

 The reason why some daughters and parents think this way, and the reason why His Highness Ethan receives so much attention, is because of the speculation around how he will treat his future children.

 As long as it’s monogamous, a child born from a mistress is considered an illegitimate child.

 However, there is a loophole.
 If a boy is born to the Queen or the crown princess, any subsequent children of the mistress are adopted as children of the Queen and officially have the right to the throne.
 Moreover, once three years have passed since the Queen's arrival, this system will be applied to all children, and the queen will be required to write a consent form for the adoption at the time of marriage.

 As someone who has memories of a previous life, I find this system absurd, but it is said to be at least a consolation for the King and the crown prince, who cannot escape from political marriages.

 In fact, the previous King had other lovers besides the Queen.
Therefore, His Majesty the current King is the Previous Queen's son, but the King's brother and sister have different mothers.
It is said that the reason why the siblings are so close to each other is because the previous Queen was a person of character.

 So, even today, His Royal Highness Ethan was being watched by hungry daughters who wanted to be his mistress.
 Incidentally, I think the reason why Mother's eyes were full of pain was because I was (tentatively) selected for such a mistress position.

 From the perspective of those around me, it was a perfect dance.
On the other hand, I, the person involved in the dance, lost my nerve in many ways.

 The song ended with a faint afterglow, and the people around us changed dance partners.
 His Highness Ethan was still holding my hand, and I was invited by him to leave the dance circle.
We were not going to repeat a dance— I was not about to play the same games as Miss Charlotte.

 His Highness Ethan asked Mother if he could take me to the terrace.

“You have ten minutes.
In the meantime, I will go and greet the Queen.”

 Mother, who had looked unimpressed, reluctantly agreed to my pleading gaze.

 At first, I just wanted to confirm that His Highness Ethan was my husband.
I even thought it would be better not to meet him, as a distant glance would suffice.
 If it turned out that he was in fact my husband, I wanted to know whether he had memories of his previous life or not, and with what intention he exposed ourselves to the public at large—that is what I wanted to know.

 I have not yet been able to confirm whether or not His Highness Ethan has memories of my husband.
However, I was certain that His Highness Ethan was fond of me.
 That is probably why he had, “The royal man who is in love with you” written on the fan.
If I had known that it was the crown prince, I would have run away, refusing to be a potential mistress, and it would have caused a rift between the royal family and the Howard family.

 I think His Highness Ethan took a gamble.
That if we met face to face again, I would fall for him.
And that if I wanted to, the relationship with the Howards would not be broken.
 He then deliberately chose a ball that he would not normally attend, a large ball hosted by the Queen, so that he could show many people that he and I were together.
Even if I didn't have a fiancée, he wanted to show that, I, Rebecca Howard could not be approached.

 Or perhaps His Highness Prince Ethan himself had memories of a previous life and realized from my sudden declaration of seclusion that I had recalled my previous life.
 If this hypothesis is correct, it could be that he decided to bridge the gap before I made any irreversible moves, such as leaving the family or emigrating to a foreign country, which is what I was about to do.

 As I walked to the terrace, I thought back to the first time I met His Highness Ethan.
 His Highness Ethan was already engaged to Princess Aaliyah.
We had greeted each other for the first time as future brother and sister-in-law, and at that moment, he had said—

“What are you thinking about?”

 I was jolted back to reality with a jerk of my laced fingers.
 His Highness Ethan had gambled to win me.
Then I will take that bet and play my cards. 

“I’m remembering the first time we met.”

 At the time, he was 17 and I was 14.
We met only once.
And more than three years have passed since then.

 At that time, I had no memory of my previous life.
But now.

“I see.
It's a little late for that, but what was your first impression of me?”

“You're going to like me.”
 If I remember correctly … His Highness Ethan, whom I met for the first time, said that to me.
Just like before.

“What a funny guy.”

 I replied.
Just like before.

 He jolted at my response.
His emerald eyes pierced mine.
We were sure of each other.
We definitely shared the same memory.

 — I decided to just catch a glimpse of him from afar.
He is engaged to the princess of a neighboring country.
 — But I will still retreat to my estate and enjoy the single life.
I don't want to see the two of them cuddling in the capital.

“ … The moon is beautiful, isn’t it?”

 He said this as if to shake off even a shred of doubt.
This is the same as before.

 It is well known that I was called the Princess of the Moon at the Royal Remus Academy.
 And tonight is a full moon.
 But he isn’t talking about either of those moons.

“I can die happy.”

 Remembering my previous life, my beloved husband is betrothed to a princess of another country… isn't that too much?

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