Chapter 52: The Kingdom of Baratonia’s ‘Festival of Promises’ and Weddings
I woke up to find my eyes weren’t swollen as I had expected, likely due to following Gauche’s advice to sleep with a cold gaze.
If my eyes were swollen, I would have had to endure the maids’ harsh taunting.
I rose early, before Gwenna and her group arrived, and refreshed myself by washing my face in the washbasin.
Looking at my revitalized reflection in the mirror, I grinned and whispered, “Good”
The ceremony was scheduled for the afternoon.
After a light breakfast, the maids appeared and meticulously groomed me.
I thought that two weeks of polishing would have been enough, but apparently, I still needed to be polished.
Frankly, it felt like a waste of time, especially considering the mountain of work that still lay ahead.
In reality, it was only necessary to polish for special occasions.
Even so, I was being pampered far more than I had been in my homeland.
But a wedding ceremony was indeed a special event, particularly mine with His Highness Auglia today.
Although it may not be as elaborate as Sekisei-shaku, it involved signing the marriage contract and presenting ourselves in front of numerous guests, toasting to our love, and distributing holiday treats to various offices, declaring it as the “Festival of Promises” and making it a new national holiday.
The marriage of royalty alone hardly leaves a lasting impression on the public.
However, if it’s turned into a grand celebration, it becomes a different story.
Festivities are a joyous occasion for the common folk and also an excellent opportunity to introduce the marriage contract beforehand.
This will enable the people to gradually get accustomed to the idea.
Previously, marriages were conducted verbally.
However, the newlyweds will now have two years to take the Sekisei-shaku procedures, obtain the necessary documents from the office, and resubmit their contract.
As I pondered over these matters, my relaxing full-body massage and milk bath came to an end.
I cannot afford to be complacent now and must steel myself as I sit in front of the mirror.
My once hunchbacked posture, deemed a disgrace to ladylike conduct, has improved considerably, and my sitting stance now appears more refined…or so I think.
Though I’ve never given dancing much thought, my etiquette is decent, and I have no trouble conversing in Baratonia.
Today, I’ll adorn myself in finery, sign the contract, smile, and stand by His Highness Auglia.
The denizens of the capital were hurrying to the palace’s open gardens today, where food and drink were laid out, and everyone, except for the busy serving staff at my finishing party, would revel in the festivities.
While some folks might prefer setting up their stalls in the city, they could avail themselves of free victuals and beverages at the palace, and the prospect of a massive throng was likely.
The kitchen would be bustling today, with the cooks from neighboring eateries hard at work preparing the fare.
Merchants would likewise rake in a fortune selling alcohol.
Oops, my mind had wandered again, but when I snapped out of it, my reflection in the mirror was unrecognizable, thanks to the impeccable makeup.
“Hmm… What enchantment did you use?”
“It’s just makeup… Every time you’re vague and talk about yourself, I’ve been researching until today.
How about it? Are you still vague?”
Melissa placed her hand on my shoulder from behind and peeked at my face, exulting in her victory.
The maids behind me giggled, and I wondered when I had become their guinea pig…?!
The outcome was astonishingly stunning.
The eyebrows were adorned with a hint of dark gold, and the eye area was impeccably defined with a dark blue shade that complemented the white dress.
The makeup was skillfully designed to accentuate my ethereal appearance, without resorting to the overused and clichéd red color.
The eyelid was coated with a sprinkle of silver-speckled ice blue eyeshadow, and a light purple blush was delicately applied to the cheeks, not too thick, just enough to hint at a rosy flush.
The lips were adorned with a charmingly glossy reddish-purple shade, with a touch of peach undertones.
My long and slender platinum blonde hair was elegantly tied up, embellished with pearls and silver hair accessories, resembling a natural crown.
As I stood upright, clad in a corset and dress, Gwenna brought a delicate silver tiara placed on a pedestal.
The tiara was adorned with a clear blue Lapis Lazuli stone that glimmered brilliantly as it caught the light.
The stone was not only aesthetically pleasing but also durable, making it a perfect match for the day’s makeup.
“This tiara is a gift from His Majesty and Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Julius.
Originally, it was supposed to be encrusted with diamonds, but after consulting with a jeweler, it was made with this stone.
This is the only tiara that belongs to you, Claire-sama.
Do you know the significance of the Lapis Lazuli stone?”
With my dress secured tightly at the nape of my neck, I shook my head gently to keep my hair in place.
“I heard it’s called the eternal vow.
The gem merchant who trades directly with the producing country says it’s often used as a wedding ring in its place of origin.”
“Well, as for wedding rings…Ah, yes, wedding rings and engagement rings are popular in the Faithnum Empire, but in the Baratonia Kingdom, such customs do not exist.
They only care about the paperwork… No, that’s not right…It’s very nice.”
“We’ll secure the veil with this tiara.
We’ll guide you to the venue to avoid stepping on the hem of your dress.”
“Claire-sama, please don’t get too excited or let your curiosity get the best of you and run off.”
“I wonder what people think the moment they see you.”
With Gwenna and Melissa, who I’ve known the longest, and the maids in the room, I shared laughter and jokes.
Wearing a delicate lace veil and with my hair styled atop the tiara, I was finally complete as a bride.
Reflecting on my journey, I’ve married into this country and have experienced so much.
Every day was fresh and enjoyable…Yesterday, someone who has been a tremendous source of support told me that I should prioritize creating a new family, starting with their existence.
The commencement of the new Baratonia Kingdom marked a new beginning in my life as Claire Baratonia.
Guided by the maids, I was led to the ceremony venue — the castle rooftop that had been transformed into a green square, completely unfamiliar to me.
Despite the challenging climb up the long staircase with my back supported, arms hugged, and the hem of my dress held, I somehow found myself gaining strength as I busily moved, able to ascend without any breaks.
As I arrived, His Majesty, Her Majesty, His Highness Julius, and His Highness Auglia, all adorned in ceremonial attire, were waiting with smiles before a contract paper was placed in front of His Majesty, in addition to the nobles of the Baratonia Kingdom.
As the Baratonia nobles rose from their ornate chairs in unison, my eyes met with Lord Balk, who smiled at me somewhat wistfully.
As I advanced through the nobles, guided by the maid holding the hem of my dress, Prince Auglia’s radiant smile welcomed me.
When I drew near enough, I was gently pulled towards him, just as he had done when first inviting me into his carriage.
“I am confident that I can smile no matter what situation I find myself in, as long as I am with you.
Will you do me the honor of becoming my bride, Claire?”
He asked with a bright and warm expression.
I feel the same way.
His Highness never tried to reject anything I tried to do, even when I struggled.
He taught me the importance of taking breaks and encouraged me to become stronger and supported me along the way.
“Of course, Your Highness.
I came here to be your wife.”
As we stood together, His Majesty proceeded to read the marriage contract.
“If you agree to these three conditions, please sign here.”
Prince Auglia and I signed the contract one after the other.
Under our two signatures, His Majesty signed as a guarantor of the contract.
“Hereby, as the wife of Auglia Baratonia, I welcome Claire Faithnum and proclaim the marriage between Princess Claire Baratonia, and Prince Auglia Baratonia!”
The prominent nobles of Baratonia, who had been observing the proceedings, offered their blessings with thunderous applause.
I was now Claire Baratonia.
I felt as if Gauche was watching from the shadows of the rooftop garden, but he vanished in an instant.
It seemed that he had kept his word and watched over me.
As I was about to burst into tears, overwhelmed with emotions, His Highness Auglia’s smile caught my eye.
We stood on the flower-and-ribbon-adorned platform before the assembled crowd beneath the castle, waving and smiling, as the people cheered and celebrated our union.
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