Villainess no Yume

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Chapter 10 - The Royal Engagement

Yume Valenz (Point Of View)

Today, the 6 years old me met with the King of Zen. In his presence, I felt cold shivers that I have never experienced in my life. Even scarier compared to when my father scolded me.

As taught, I bent my knees while bowing my head, I greeted, "Yume Valenz greets His Majesty, the King."

Only one thing came into my mind. Did I greet the king correctly? Our family's honor should not be tarnished by my mistake. So I eagerly practice this noble greeting for weeks.

"Hahaha!" the King applauded. I can't see his expressions, but based on his laugh, I infer that I did well with my greetings. "Duke Valenz, you have raised your daughter well."

When I heard his praise, I felt happy.

"Thank you, Your Majesty," the duke replied, "she is the treasure of our family."

"You both may raise your heads," the king commanded.

As I raise my head, I saw the king again who was sitting on the throne. It looked magnificent and mysterious. I didn't notice earlier because I was nervous, but there is a little kid who was standing beside him, I blurted, "A kid?-"

"Yume!" my father, the duke said, raising his voice at me. It seems I just made a mistake by calling someone and not addressing him with his title. I got scared."I'm sorry on behalf of my daughter, Your Majesty."

"It's fine duke," the king said, "since they will know each other more in the future."

The duke gulped. "M-May I know what do you mean Your Majesty?"

"I heard that your daughter is intelligent."

"Indeed Your Majesty, her ability indeed exceeds those who are in the same age as her."

"And she also took her mother's face. I believe she would also grow into a beautiful lady."

"Thank you, Your Majesty."

"That is why I decided to let the crown prince marry her."

"...Pardon?" the duke asked, he caught his breath as he waits for confirmation.

The king placed his hands on the shoulder of a kid who was standing beside him. "Prince Shin will become the crown prince, and your daughter Yume will be engaged to him. They will be married when she comes of age."

"Y-Y-Your M-Majesty..."

"You don't want to?" the King asked, raising his voice a little. "Is there a problem with my son?"

"There is none your Majesty, but my daughter is the heir of the family—"

"Why not just adopt another child to be your heir?" The King suggested, it was like he already planned everything from the start.

"A-Adopt?"

The King smiled victoriously. "Yes, just adopt an heir, problem solved. The child might not be as smart as your daughter, but it's fine, right? Then I believe nothing is holding back this betrothal anymore."

I looked at my father who becomes slightly sad. Sweats were forming on his face as he looked down.

"Father," I said. He looked at me with concerning eyes. People might not see, but as his only daughter, I can't help but notice. "Are you alright?"

He whispered, "Y-Yes, dear." His voice trembled to say that everything is fine. Even a little kid like me would have known that a connection was made between me and the kid beside the king.

I do know that angering the King will only lead to our family being punished. So even I only know little, I decided to stop my father from thinking as I say, "Thank you, Your Majesty."

"A wise lady," the king praised, he was so happy that he immediately ordered a royal decree for our future marriage.

My father who is amid of collapsing took consecutive deep breaths, he said, "Thank You, Your Majesty."

As a little kid, I didn't understand what engagement or marriage is all about. But after this announcement, I found out that this is something I might regret and be forced to do in my life.

***

"Welcome back Your Grace."

"Welcome back Milady."

It has been a week when we traveled back from the royal palace. The servants who were waiting outside our castle greeted us.

Hop!

I excitedly took off from our carriage and ran towards my room. "I'm back!" I said, "Hello Cindy, Cynthia, Martha, and Annabelle. Did you guys miss me?"

These are the names of my dolls that were given to me for each year on my birthday when my mother is still alive. This is why I treat them dearly, not just as toys but as a precious memento that was left for me.

Bang!

I dropped one of my dolls whom I was grooming when the door in my room suddenly opened. "Who?"

"Good evening, Your Grace." Hearing my maid outside made me realize that the one who entered my room is my father.

"Father?" I said.

"I'm sorry my daughter," he said, showing me a look similar to my maids when they made mistakes. "Yume, from now on all of your toys will be confiscated. Tomorrow, you will have to get additional things to study, and I will get more teachers for you starting next week."

"What?!" I was truly shocked by my father's decision. As a kid, I never really understood what he meant by these. But what I understand is that these precious toys that my mother gave to me will be separated from me. "F-Father, not my toys. Please!"

I begged and hugged my father's leg, crying until my eyes got swollen. "It's from mother! Father!" — uwaaa! — "It's from mom!"

"I'm sorry, but from now on, you wouldn't be allowed to play anymore. This is for the sake of our family."

"Noooo! Father! Please no!"

"Enough! Yume, listen to your father!" my father quickly left without remorse. He ordered the maids to remove my toys and remodel my room into one that will fit for studying. He even ordered so that I can't step out of my room.

I wept on my bed until morning, hoping that my father would see and change his mind. I even tried to skip my meals sometimes. Yet, there is no sign of him. Hugging my pillow is the only thing that comforts me. "M-Mom... I miss you."

Time passed as my teachers grew in number. It seems I already forgot about the toys my mother gave me, or rather there is no time for me to even think about it.

They taught me different things that never interest me in this life, but still, I was forced to learn. "You are the future Queen, Milady," they said, "you need to learn everything so people will not laugh at you."

What's wrong with laughing? That is what I thought. Wouldn't this be better than what I have been doing now?

My teachers will hit my hand with a stick whenever I answered wrong. And my feet will bleed when my etiquette is questioned.

One time I tried to run into the hallway, I was punished. "A proper lady wouldn't display such a disgracing act."

They prevented me from eating what I want. Every move with my teacup should be according to what they say is right. Every unnecessary move I make is rectified.

I was hoping that this would end soon, but I realize that this was just the beginning.

The punishments grew as I grew older. There were times that I was even locked in my room and starved because I retaliated with one of my teachers.

Whenever I have something I like, was used against me. They will threaten me to destroy it if I don't follow them. This is where I learn not to have something I like anymore. It will just become my weakness.

"Father, I don't want this anymore," I said.

"This is the king's order."

"B-But at least change my teacher—"

"Enough Yume. They are the best in this kingdom. They know what they are doing," my father said. Not even a glimpse to see the fresh blisters on my hand.

I don't know when, but I stopped caring. I just went with the flow and did what I was told. To the point where I will even eat spoiled food when asked.

The only thing I dream of is to leave this place and marry the prince. "My last hope."

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