Chapter 154: Who Touched My Girl? (2)

Princess Violet was a big part of how the Seventh Queen Consort Jane was able to survive until now.

If the princess disappeared, it was clear that she would die within the month or within a year at the most if she were lucky. And if it was somehow revealed that she aided the princess in her getaway, she would be promptly beheaded on the spot.

Of course, Queen Consort Jane knew of all these facts. She knew of all this, yet she regardless mustered the courage and took action so that her daughter would not be condemned to a cruel fate.

She asserted Violet once more.

“Run away and live your life freely. That is my one hope and wish.”

Princess Violet choked up as she replied.

“Mother, I cannot. How could I possibly bring myself to leave you and…”

“I’ll be alone in any case when you’re wed off to another land.”

“That’s…”

“And when that happens, I’ll be…”

“Mother…”

Princess Violet welled up with emotion as she watched her mother unable to finish the sentence. Before they knew it, the mother and daughter found themselves shedding tears as they tightly embraced each other.

The Queen Consort comforted her.

“I wish nothing but happiness for you. As long as you are happy, dear Violet, then I am at peace no matter what befalls me.”

 “How… how could I be? Without you, mother, I…”

The truth was that Princess Violet, with all her political ineptitude, had in fact considered it.

That was, she had thought about leaving the Principality with all the knights that followed her and rebuilding it all somewhere else. It did not matter if she could not become a knight. Even the thought of becoming a socially outcasted mercenary made her heart flutter – leaving this suffocating country she called home behind for real freedom.

But those thoughts always stopped at just that: thoughts.

And that was because she could not bring herself to turn her back from her mother, the one existence in this world that showered her with love. Ironically, what was restraining her the most was not the power and authority of her father, but the love of her mother.

The mother and daughter could only embrace each other and weep ceaselessly.

In the end, Princess Violet could not bring herself to flee, despite the Seventh Queen Consort’s continuous imploring.

And in time, the one nominated to be her fiancé – if he could be called that – had arrived.

***

“Hoh… you’re much prettier than your likenesses.”

“……”

“I’m impressed.”

“……”

Princess Violet trembled at the sheer humility of his tone. No matter how much scorn she was treated with within her own nation, and no matter how weak their country was… 

She was still a princess.

She did not deserve to hear such disrespectful words that would more readily be said to the hostess of a pub while being gazed at in the same manner. Yet any semblance of courteousness seemed to have been thrown out the window, as the mongrel before her blatantly scanned her body up and down as if evaluating a mere good.

In terms of first impressions, his likeness seemed like a cross between a snake and a rat: a man that was greasy, foul-mouthed, and plain disgusting, with narrow eyes and a stick-thin frame to go with it. Though an extravagantly decorated sword was strapped to his hip, his posture and the air he exuded betrayed that it was nothing but a mere ornament. If Princess Violet had so much as a butcher’s knife, she would very well be able to toy with him and dominate.

But that was only in a contest of strength; and in reality, the one with the overwhelming say between the two of them was Ward Tol the young Master. The Tol March was well-known in the Valence Kingdom for their great wealth, and Archduke Lawrence was promised a healthy sum as a dowry for wedding Princess Violet to them.

In other words, this was only a wedding on paper and was, in fact, no different than being sold for gold. Ward understood his position of power very well and was a despicable enough man to take advantage of it. Indeed, he was relishing in the fact that his opponent was unable to resist and he had full liberty above them.

Ward Tol rose from his seat and approached Princess Violet, speaking with a loose tone.

“Let us make as much haste with the wedding as we can afford. You would like that as well, won’t you?”

Of course, she didn’t.

Princess Violet instinctively avoided Ward’s hand that came up to touch her cheek as she responded. 

“I have yet to consent to this marriage.”

Ward raised an eyebrow, feigning surprise.

Hoh… an unruly princess who still rebels against her father’s wishes. Is that what this is?”

“……”
“Do you not wish to answer? It seems you have another man in your heart.”

While his disposition was that of the scum of the earth, it seemed he was sharp in his own right.

Princess Violet looked at Ward straight in the eye as she answered.

“As you say, I, unfortunately, have another man in my heart already. Please give up on pursuing me and return whence you came.”

It was a rather shocking thing to say, but she could not stand the presence of this man any further and said it as it was.

But the issue was…

“Marvelous.”

Her honesty only served to fan the flames further.

“My interest was only piqued at first when I heard that you were a princess, but your looks are better than I imagined – and now on top of that, you already have someone you love to boot? This is the best.”

“… Excuse me?”

The man licked his lips as he watched Princess Violet’s confusion with animalistic eyes.

“I’m looking forward to this. How will you react when I deflower you in bed? Will you cry and beg me to stop? Or will you flail with guilt as you call for your beloved? Whichever it is, I’m undoubtedly in for a rather special treat.”

“……”

Princess Violet’s face turned red with rage.

As she weathered the battlefield and fought against bandits, she had witnessed many a wretched man, but…

‘Someone like this actually exists?’

It was her first encountering such a creep. This was a completely different kind of depravity from what she had experienced until now. Despite being an opponent she could cut down in one fell sweep, she shuddered with a level of disgust she felt to her bones.

Let alone respect, Princess Violet had never met such a total pervert as the man before her, a sociopathic sadist who could not so much as empathize with women. Despite the gap in their real strength, she was physically revolted and offended.

Ward formed an insidious smile as he continued.

“I am truly looking forward to this, very much so. The moment you really become mine, that is.”

With that, Ward turned and departed Princess Violet’s royal quarters. Even after he disappeared from her sight, Violet took a moment to process what she had just experienced.

‘Do I really have to marry… a thing like that?’

She merely hoped that this was all just a bad dream.

***

After coming face-to-face with Princess Violet, Ward Tol hastened the wedding even more. 

The original plan was to promptly hold an engagement ceremony, and proceed with the formal wedding once they had returned to the Valence Kingdom. But Ward shifted their schedule to arrange their wedding in the Florence Principality.

To others, it may have appeared as respect for the bride and her family – but all Princess Violet felt was goosebumps. Her opinion and input were completely disregarded in the steady preparation of the wedding, and all she received was a mere notice that she was to dress appropriately for the big day.

To prepare for all anomalies, Ward sent his own maids to attend her side at all times. Though they were said to be attached to aid in preparing the bride, their true purpose was surveillance.

In that manner, the fated day of the wedding arrived.

“Finally, that eyesore of a tomboy will be gone from our sight.”

“Indeed. She truly was a disgrace to the royal family.”

“Maybe it’s because of her lowborn mother’s blood, but I never wanted her to be associated with me as a fellow royal.”

The members of the Florence Principality royal family shared in conversation as they gathered for the wedding ceremony. 

In truth, rather than conversations of substance, most of the talking consisted of slandering the bride. The princesses particularly badmouthed Violet more than the princes, arising from their envy for her.

To the women of this era, wielding a sword and commandeering the frontlines to earn a knight’s rights was an object of admiration – and longing. They longed for it as humans tend to yearn for things that cannot be grasped easily – and for a woman to become a knight was ten times harder than for a man.

On top of that, she was no ordinary woman that had received the privileges of a knight but a royal. A noble princess commanding knights on the battlefield as she fought side-by-side was a thing that was practically unheard of in the real world; a fantastical existence concocted by storytellers who were inspired by such a striking image.

Yet Princess Violet had achieved it, not by some backend nepotism but purely by the skill of her own hands.

That was why the other princesses envied Princess Violet, all the more so because of her lowlier background: she had achieved something that they could never.

And thus they slandered her, very much unlike the dignity associated with a normal princess.

They said that her talent with the sword arose from her lowborn blood, and even went as far as to spread a rumor that she was having an affair with several of the knights.

Yet in complete disregard of these rumors, Princess Violet and the knight orders she commanded continued to raise victories on the battlefield, which served to displease the other princesses even further.

But now everything was fine.

Princess Violet was entering under the wing of a March of the Valence Kingdom as a mere concubine – and not just a concubine, but the seventh.

On top of that, the successor to this Marquis household, Ward Tol, was held in rather low regard. While seven of his concubines were on the official records, it was said that he had many more ‘lovers’ off the books.

As if that was not enough, added to that was a rumor that he raised his hands to inflict violence on his wives on more than one occasion.

In essence, Princess Violet was being wed to the worst of the worst for a husband.

Now the other princesses attended the wedding ceremony to scoff and pity her in equal part, creating a relative sense of superiority for themselves as they saw the last of her.

“Now then, we shall proceed with the ceremony.”

With the officiant’s words, the ceremony commenced.

First, the groom entered. Despite his infamous depravity, he entered the venue confidently with a face full of anticipation.

“I have heard he is not mentally, well, all there – is that true?”

“From what I’ve heard, there was an occasion where he beat one of his wives so bad that she could not so much as show her face around the noble circles for several months.”

“Oh dear, how frightening.”

“But a perfect match for a certain someone, don’t you think?”

“Haha… now that you mention it, indeed it is.”

The princesses chuckled amongst themselves as they relished in Princess Violet’s misfortune.

Now it was the bride’s turn to enter.

And at that moment…

The princesses’ ridicule stopped at once.

Adorned perfectly from head to toe and wearing a pure white wedding dress, a heavy silence filled the venue as soon as she entered.

A full five seconds passed before the guests came back to their senses and started amongst themselves.

“Is that Princess Violet?”

“I had no idea since she wore armor every day, but…”

“Hmm… she does seem a little pretty after all.”

“Well, at least on the surface. Let’s not give her all that.”

The men lost their wits as they were struck with awe, while the murmuring women lost their inflammatory spirit in one swoop.

No one had any idea until now since she did not take care of her appearance on the day-to-day – that Princess Violet would be this beautiful with some grooming. Adorned with her flowing white wedding dress that seemed to highlight her purity, her appearance as she walked down the central red carpet was glowing, even mysterious. This was only helped by the veil that covered her expression.

‘Hmm… could I have sold her for more?’

It was enough to even make her father, Archduke Lawrence, feel disappointed. To him, his princess daughters were political playing cards. It was only natural to him to sell his princesses for higher prices the more beautiful they were – and it was thus only natural that he felt regret. If he knew Princess Violet was so gifted in looks, he would have negotiated for much greater terms.

More than anyone, the one who was most awestruck by her form was none other than Ward Tol.

‘This is nuts. If I could have my way, I would screw this ceremony and all that bish-bosh and just…’

Notorious for his belittling of women, he expectedly became antsy in this moment as he watched Princess Violet. Ward had initially sought her out merely to add a princess to his collection, but he had never imagined she would be like this. 

He impatiently waited for this ceremony to be over and just the two of them to be alone. Never had he felt time go so slowly, and it almost felt as if the officiant was deliberately dragging along his speech. Including the six weddings he had experienced until the present, this was the most bothersome and irritating of all.

At last, the officiant reached the wedding vows.

“Do you, the groom, swear to care for the bride in the joys and sorrows of life, come what may, and give yourself to her without reservation?”

“I swear that I shall.”

Ward answered promptly, and now it was Princess Violet’s turn.

“Do you, the bride, swear to care for the groom and love him in turn, and devote yourself to him for the remainder of your life?”

“……”

Princess Violet did not answer.

The officiant cleared his throat and asked once more.

“Ahem… do you, the bride, swear to care for the groom and love him in turn, and devote yourself to him for the remainder of-”

“She says she does. We may proceed.”

Ward cut the officiant short.

It appeared that she was yet to surrender to her fate, and he did not wish to extend this tedious ceremony any further because of such a small bump in the road.

Taking control of this sacred exchanging of vows done in the name of the gods was grave blasphemy.

But…

“Ahem…”

When Archduke Lawrence shot him a look, the officiant also decided to gloss over it. While the officiants were said to be appointed by the gods, it seemed even they could not stand tall in front of the power held by those attending this ceremony.

“With that, we have heard the two proclaim their love for each other. Having heard these vows, if anyone present has an objection to this union, you may step forward and-” 

It was then.

“I do.”

The doors to the wedding hall swung opens and one man strode in. He did not falter a single step even as he received the stares of everyone present. Despite bursting into a wedding ceremony proceeded by none other than the royal family, he was completely relaxed and overflowed with ironclad confidence.

In fact, he was so relaxed that…

‘I’m so sick. I’ve always wanted to try something like this.’

…was the sort of thoughts he held in mind.

It went without saying that this intruder was none other than Milton.

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