I’m Only a Stepmother, but My Daughter is Just so Cute! - Chapter 21
Sabelian was the one who had entered the practice room. As always, he wore his customary poker face. I, on the other hand, had unconsciously donned a face of complete surprise. “Have you been well, Your Majesty? What made you come all the way over here…?”
“You called me here, did you not?”
“I did?” What? When the heck did I ever call you of all people over? Sabelian let out a small sigh of annoyance at my less-than-intelligent response. “The practice. You asked me to practice with you. Have you already forgotten?”
I was dumbfounded for a second. I thought…wasn’t that a refusal you gave me back there? “But you said you didn’t like dancing?”
“I don’t. But I might as well try it now.” What—in—the—world…? And he made this decision all by himself? Sabelian, is that really you?
“What are you looking at? Shall we begin?” Nope, no mistake here. That asshole way of speaking…that’s classic Sabelian right there. Oh, Millard’s right behind him, too. Now I see what’s going on. He didn’t come here to dance, he came to watch me. He was watching me when I was out walking as well…
Mm, it was a little annoying, but whatever. It’s good to have Blanche and Sabelian be together.
“It’s nothing, Your Majesty. Thank you for your time. Blanche wanted to see you as well.” I glanced at Blanche. The girl greeted Sabelian with a very nervous expression, “W-Welcome, father…”
Sabelian showed no sign of emotion even in front of his daughter. Seriously, this guy… Is he actually a machine inside or something? During my inner tirade, Millard had walked up to stand in front of Blanche. He got down to eye level to greet her with a smile, “Have you been well, princess? It’s good to see you looking so healthy.”
“Ah, hello, Sir Millard.” Blanche grinned happily. Millard, too, surprisingly responded back with a huge grin. Dang, that expression really doesn’t suit him.
That guy always frowns like he’s about to kill someone, but now he looks as happy as a dog with a bone. Blanche didn’t seem scared of him either. Hmm… Could it be, Millard is a…?
“Aren’t Blanche’s clothes very pretty today, Sir Millard?”
“Yes. Her blue clothes suit her blue eyes perfectly and the little ribbons on it accentuate her loveliness greatly. Of course, she’s lovely without any of these things as is.” Millard spoke with beaming pride. This guy…This guy… He’s one of us!!! I felt my friendship affinity towards Millard jingle up at an alarming rate. Millard smiled as he kept talking to Blanche, “His Majesty came out to practice dancing with the queen today. Would you like to be my partner while the two of them dance together?”
“Uhm, well…” Blanche looked at me with conflicted eyes, before running over to hide right behind me, “I-I’d like to dance with her…”
Ah…I think I just saw an angel. Is he finally here to send me off to heaven?
Oh my gosh, my heart is throbbing with pain because of how cute this girl is. Thank you Jesus, thank you Buddha, I’ll be a good human from now on, I promise.
“I see. Dancing with the queen…” Millard was still smiling, but the air about him had changed completely. He fixed me with a glare that promised death. The man really has a talent for insulting people with his eyes alone. It almost looked as if they were shouting ‘You dare dance with the princess?’ at me. I stared back narrowly with the most venomous gaze I could muster. Hmph, you jealous? You’re jealous, aren’t you? You’re to~tally jealous, hah! Why don’t you dance with Sabelian if you want a partner so badly?
“Just what are you two doing over there?” Sabelian spoke up in a very annoyed voice, breaking the two of us out of our little staring contest. Blanche looked a little bit scared. Oh dear, this won’t do. I can’t ruin my chance because of something like this. Come to think of it, the girl said something a moment ago…didn’t she? About wanting to dance with Sabelian.
I want to dance with Blanche here, but…I need to suppress my greed here for just a second, at least for little Blanche over here. “Princess Blanche, why don’t you practice dancing with His Majesty today instead of me?”
“What?” Blanche seemed surprised by my suggestion. Sabelian, on the other hand…was just staring at me without saying a word.
“I think it’d be great to have the two of you dance during the festival. What do you think, Sir Millard?” I addressed the unsuspecting man suddenly. Millard flinched for a second before replying quietly, “…Yes, I think this would be a good idea, Your Majesty.”
Sabelian remained quiet, which made Blanche all the more nervous. My heart was pounding as well. Blanche is sure to get hurt if he refuses. I tried shooting Sabelian a short, meaningful glare, “Isn’t a little practice fine?”
Please say yes, please! Blanche would be happy even if you just stopped at grabbing her hand! Sabelian didn’t look away from my glare. He just looked at me and Millard, as if he didn’t quite comprehend the need for him to dance.
But thankfully, Millard was on my side on this. He was just as invested in this as I was. In the end, Sabelian gave in with a sigh, “Fine.”
I had to hold back a scream of delight. Millard seemed to be in the same boat as well. Sabelian walked up to Blanche and held out his hand. Huh, now that I look at it, he was wearing white gloves even in summer. How strange. Blanche glanced at me nervously. She opened her mouth, sounding rather sad, “I wanted to dance with Miss Abigail too…”
Sob, don’t make me cry, Blanche. You’re making me want to chase Sabelian out of the room. I patted the little girl’s head, “We can dance a lot together a little later and we can dance tomorrow as well. How does that sound?”
Blanche nodded shyly. She let go of my clothes, walked up to Sabelian and put her hand on his large one. The two looked very awkward together. Blanche was sweating profusely with her head lowered. Sabelian, on the other hand, was standing still like a statue.
The music began playing. It was a light and happy tune, one that reminded the listener of puppies frolicking about. However, even with the music, the two people who were supposed to be dancing were standing still. Oh, right, Sabelian doesn’t know how to dance this. “I’ll do a little demonstration for you. Clara, come and be my partner, won’t you?”
“Yes, ma’am!” I grabbed Clara’s hand, and started dancing to the rhythm of the music. The dance I did with Blanche was rather simple. It had a lot of repetition as well, making it an easy dance overall.
Sabelian should be able to do this as well, right? And since he’s doing it with his daughter, he should be fine even if he makes mistakes on the stage, I suppose? Sabelian observed me with great intensity. Once I finished my dance, I stopped right in place. “Your Majesty, try dancing with Blanche, now. Would you like another demo?”
“This is enough.” He spoke calmly, as if what I did just now was easy. Didn’t he say he was bad at dancing though…? The music began again. One, two, three. One, two, three. Sabelian began moving according to the claps of the dance teacher and Blanche followed after him.
I watched the two like a mother sending off her child. I’m going to defend Sabelian if he makes a mistake! If anyone says anything about Blanche, I’m going to tell them off! As I watched the two while thinking this—
Oh? Sabelian didn’t make any mistakes at all. In fact, he was dancing unbelievably well for a first-timer. His movements had a depth and beauty to them, despite the dance being so simple, adding to the unbelievable power of this father-daughter combo. The most handsome man in the palace, dancing with the cutest girl in the world. It was a moment where I got to see for myself the manifestation of a particular truth: Handsome thing + Cute thing = Very Good Thing .
It was lovely too. Watching a massive father standing over 180cm in height dance with his tiny daughter was both a cute and lovely sight to behold. Everyone in the room was watching the dance with a smile of a proud parent on their faces. Even Norma had a smile on her face, and Millard was grinning like a madman.
Blanche’s face, on the other hand, looked incredibly tense. She wasn’t one to usually make mistakes in her dance, but she had lost the beat several times already. This made me feel a little nervous for some reason. Just right about when the music was reaching its end, Blanche stepped forward a beat too early.
Her foot tripped on Sabelian’s and her small body lost its balance. She’d let go of Sabelian’s hand and ended up falling onto the ground. She didn’t land hard, but her face was completely pale. The scene back at the tea room flashed in my head.
“F-father, I-I’m sorry. I…mistake…” The girl looked up to Sabelian, trembling like a scared kitty. Sabelian looked down at her with cold eyes. Blanche and Sabelian had eyes the exact same color but what was held within them could not have been any more different. Sabelian’s eyes were like the winter sea. Cold and unforgiving.
The band had stopped playing as well. I need to do something before that idiot does something to Blanche again. Just as I was about to take the proverbial stage, Sabelian crouched down to Blanche’s eye level. The two identical pairs of blue eyes stared into each other. I could hear Sabelian’s cold voice from where I stood.
“Are you all right, Blanche?” There was no love in his voice. It felt like a machine just reading words off a piece of paper. But I was stunned. Sabelian? Caring for Blanche? Blanche looked just as stupefied as I felt.
“Are you hurt?” The unbelievable happened again.
“N-No! I’m fine…”
“I see.” Sabelian slowly stood, bringing Blanche up with him. He checked if the girl was okay, then turned to the band, “Let us continue, then. Please, if you would.“
Again, the band struck up the music and Sabelian proceeded to dance as if nothing had just happened. There was no punishment or anything. The entire time, Blanche danced along with Sabelian, her face dumbstruck.
TL: Soju Jimmy
Editor: Midwinter Gimlet
QC: Solistia Cosmopolitan