Warning: This article may contain spoilers, view at your own risk.

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Louis Howard Honey- Part 11

(Would Louis really be all right with me choosing someone else?)
The resolve in his eyes suggested that, in fact, he would.
(Maybe HE would be all right, but would I be?)
Tina    "Louis, listen—"
But just as I began to speak, my voice wavering, I was interrupted by a knock on the door.
I got up from the bed just as the door swung open.
Leo    "Sorry to interrupt."
Leo stepped through the door, an apologetic expression on his face.
Leo    "The doctor finished mixing Louis's medicine."
Louis    "Thank you, Leo."
Though Louis's face was pale and weak, he kept his composure as the doctor entered.
Doctor    "I want you to rest after taking this."
Louis    "Very well."
Doctor    "Forgive me, Mister Crawford, Your Royal Highness,
Doctor    "but I believe Duke Howard has had enough visitors for today."
Tina    "Understood..."
Leo    "Let's go, Tina."
Back out in the hallway, Leo laid a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
(Leo really has been so thoughtful through all of this.)
I looked up at Leo.
Tina    "Thank you, Leo. Truly."
I forced my lips into a smile as I wiped away the last of my lingering tears.
Leo returned my smile with an awkward smile of his own.
Tina    "I'll be okay."
I returned to my room and took a deep breath.
(Crying like this isn't going to help anyone.)
Giles    "If, heaven forbid, His Majesty were to pass away before you were prepared to take over the throne—
Giles    "it would create a veritable power vacuum with no prince consort to share your rule.
Giles    "And that would play right into the hands of the fiends who framed Duke Howard."
(Is that what this whole plot was about?
(Keeping Louis from sharing the throne with me?
(But I could never bring myself to choose anyone else.
(It doesn't matter how many other men are worthy of sharing the throne.
(Only one man is worthy of my heart.
(I have to prove Louis's innocence.)
My heart resolved, I opened the drawer I'd put the message Nico dropped in.
(This must be the message Lucia was supposed to deliver to Louis.)
Somehow, this piece of paper had ended up in Nico's possession.
Short and to the point, it left no room for misinterpretation.
Nico was the one responsible for my kidnapping.
(I wish it wasn't true—
(But this is the only clue I have to go on.)
Tina    "I'll prove your innocence, Louis. I'll prove it to everyone."
(I have to find Nico.)

===================

I stood in front of the door to Nico's room, the piece of paper clutched tightly in my hand.
(If my suspicions are correct,
(this will prove Louis's innocence.)
Tina    "I'm coming in, Nico."
Having given him fair warning, I opened the door.
I didn't know what I'd expected, but it hadn't been this.
Tina    "Nico?"
Nico stood in the center of a room that looked barely lived in.
Instead of his usual jacket and ascot,
he wore attire much like the uniforms the knights of Stein had worn to my coronation ceremony.
(What is the meaning of this?)
As I stood there in shock, the message in my hand fluttered to the floor.
Nico    "Tina—"
Nico looked me right in the eyes. He showed no signs of surprise, nor did he try to hide.
Tina    "Nico, I don't understand—
Tina    "Why are you dressed like that?"
Nico smiled sadly as I asked the question in a trembling voice.
Nico    "Because I'm the one who framed Duke Howard by forging his orders."
Tina    "!"
Nico's reply was so cool you'd think he was talking about the weather.
I felt the color drain from my face as I tried to take it all in.
Nico    "I stole documents from Louis's desk to copy his signature."
Tina    "But—why?"
Nico studied my face for a moment before narrowing his eyes coldly.
Nico    "My objective was to create a vacancy on the throne.
Nico    "So that when the current king died, there would be no successor ready—
Nico    "throwing Wysteria into a state of chaos."
It was exactly as Giles had predicted.
Nico    "That would create an opening for King Byron to annex Wysteria as part of Stein."
Tina    "King Byron?!"
I couldn't help but blurt out the name in my surprise.
(Is he saying King Byron planned this whole thing?
(When we met, he seemed like an honorable man who would never try something like this.)
Nico    "I would do anything for my king—"
Nico's coldly delivered words were like icicles stabbing at my heart.
Nico    "It's my duty as a knight of Stein."

===================

Giles    "The knights of Stein have crossed the border."
Leo    "I heard."
Both Giles and Leo's expressions were extremely grim.
Leo    "It's all anyone in the palace is talking about.
Leo    "I'd be surprised if word hadn't gotten out to the whole town as well."
Leo sighed, his frown deepening.
Giles    "We've dispatched a brigade of knights to the border, commanded by Sir Alyn.
Giles    "But we are overwhelmingly outnumbered."
Leo    "........."
As a heavy cloud of despair filled the room, Giles and Leo lapsed into silence.
(Nico's been a spy from Stein all along?)
His words echoed in my mind.
And yet, I couldn't bring myself to believe them.
Nico    "It had all gone as I planned until the archduke attacked Louis."
For a moment, Nico's stone face cracked to reveal a pained expression.
Nico    "I didn't think there would be reason enough for Wysteria to attack Stein.
Nico    "Now I've incited a war.
Nico    "That wasn't part of the plan."
Tina    "What?!"
As soon as he said those words, I raised my right hand,
and slapped Nico hard across the cheek.
A clear smack echoed in the empty room, followed by a painful throbbing in my hand.
Nico    "Tina—"
A pained grimace spread across Nico's face.
Tina    "I'll never forgive you."
Nico    "......"
Nico flinched at my words.
Tina    "I don't care that you hid your identity from me.
Tina    "Wherever you were from, you had been a good friend to me.
Tina    "However—"
I stared daggers at Nico.
Tina    "You've endangered the people of Wysteria.
Tina    "And your actions led to Louis being seriously wounded.
Tina    "And for that, I will never forgive you."
Nico placed a hand over the cheek where I'd slapped him and looked down at his feet.
Nico    "I would never presume to ask for your forgiveness."
Nico abruptly turned and placed a foot on the windowsill.
Tina    "Wait!"
Realizing he was intending to escape, I chased after him.
But just as I reached the window, he nimbly launched himself out of it.
Nico    "Farewell, Tina."

===================

Tina    "Nico, Wait!"
I stared down through the open window, but could see no sign of him below.
It had all happened so fast.
(My proof—
(I have to get proof of Louis's innocence from Nico!)
My hands clenched in fists, I charged out the door in pursuit of Nico.
But as I emerged into the hallway, a maid happened to be coming from the other direction.
Though we both tried to avoid each other, I was moving too quickly to avoid a collision.
Tina    "Oh!"
Maid    "Princess Tina! I am so terribly sorry!"
The maid's face was as white as a sheet.
Was that from bumping into me? Or had something else happened?
Tina    "Is something wrong?"
I tried to keep my voice steady, but I noticed that the maid's lips were quivering.
I had a bad feeling about this.
Maid    "It's Duke Howard."
Suddenly my heart was in my throat.
Tina    "Louis? What happened?"
I put my hands on the maid's shoulders to steady her.
Maid    "When His Grace heard that the Royal Wysterian Guard had engaged the knights of Stein at the border—
Maid    "Well, he just hopped out of bed and ran out of the room!
Maid    "And the doctor says his fever hasn't broken yet."
I put a hand over my mouth to stifle my gasp as I stared dumbfounded at the maid.
(He wouldn't think to go to the border himself, would he?)
The image of Louis's pale, listless face still burned deeply into my mind.
Louis    "Tina, I love you."
Louis    "And I'll always love you. Even if you choose someone else."
(I have to stop him!)
My pursuit of Nico forgotten, I turned around and bolted down the hall in the opposite direction.
(Maybe I can still catch him.)
Maid    "M-Milady?"
I didn't even hear the maid calling after me.
(Stop, Louis! Please don't go!)

===================
Out of breath, I pushed open the stable door. Inside, I saw exactly what I'd hoped to see.
(Oh, thank heavens.)
Tina    "Louis! Wait!"
Louis    "Tina?"
Louis had just finished bridling his horse. He turned to me, the surprise plain on his face.

11.05
[1] “Where are you going?” (Honey)
Tina    "Where are you going?"
Louis    "I, ahh—"
Louis began to speak, but stopped himself before uttering a word. A pained expression flashed across his face.
Tina    "If you get on that horse you're going to tear open your wound again! You need to let it heal!"

[2] “I’m taking you to your room.”
Tina    "I'm taking you back to your room."
Louis    "I can't go back."

[3] “Don’t go.” (Sugar)
Tina    "Don't go, Louis—"
Louis    "........."
Louis bit his lip, tears welling in his eyes.

Tina    "If you get on that horse you're going to tear open your wound again! You need to let it heal!"
I walked up to Louis and gently took his hand.
Louis    "I'm the reason this war started."
Louis lowered his gaze.
Louis    "I have to go."
Tina    "No, Louis! You're not the one who started it!"
I tightened my grip on Louis's hand, determined to stop him no matter what.
Tina    "I can prove your innocence!
Tina    "I've already found the real culprit!"
Louis avoided my gaze, but I stared him down all the same, speaking as forcefully as I could manage.
Tina    "If we can just find some proof, we can stop this war.
Tina    "That's why you need to—"
Louis    "It's too late for that."
Louis interrupted me, his voice quiet but confident.
Tina    "You don't know that."
Finally, Louis raised his head and looked me in the eyes.
Louis    "Our knights and the knights of Stein are in a face-off at the border as we speak.
Louis    "As soon as one of them initiates an attack,
Louis    "no amount of evidence will be able to stop an all-out war."
Louis's voice was resolute, as if he'd fully accepted this state of affairs.
Tina    "But we have to try—"
Louis    "Don't worry."
Louis gave me a reassuring smile.
Louis    "I intend to put a stop to it."
Louis released my hand and in a single quick motion and leapt astride his horse.
Tina    "How are you going to stop it?"
Louis looked down at me from his mount and flashed me another grin.
Louis    "Tina."
He said my name as sweetly as ever.
Hearing him say it usually filled my heart with such joy.
And that smile of his usually made me feel warm all over.
But this time, all I felt was a sadness too powerful to endure.
Louis    "I'm going to protect you and the people who are important to you.
Louis    "After all, I am your prince."
Louis smiled a smile so beautiful that I couldn't help but gasp.
With that, Louis kicked at the sides of his horse with his heels.
Tina    "No!"
The horse lurched into motion, its hooves thundering into the distance.
Tina    "I said no!
Tina    "Louis! Don't do this!"

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===================

Honey Part 11      6/10

Louis spurred his horse into motion and galloped out of the stables.
Tina    "Wait! Don't go!"
Louis didn't even turn back to look at me before he disappeared from view.
Tina    "Louis!"
As I stood there, overwhelmed by what occurred, I remembered that exchange from the orphanage.
Child    "Does he protect you from all the bad men?"
Child    "My dad says the prince consort is like a knight that protects the princess!"
Louis    "Your father is a very smart man."
Louis    "But I won't just protect Miss Tina. I'll also protect everyone and everything that's important to her."
Louis had the same unshakable resolve in his eyes now as he did then.
(I've never ridden a horse before.
(But there's a first time for everything, right?)
I looked from the horses in the stable to the direction Louis had gone.
It was now or never.
Tina    "It might be your job to protect me,but that doesn't mean I can't protect you too."
I grabbed a saddle and fastened it onto the back of the nearest horse.
Clambering onto the horse's back, I kicked at its sides the way Louis had just moments ago.
The horse cantered off in the direction that Louis had gone.
(Wait for me, Louis!)
Tina    "Faster now, come on!"
I pulled at the reins in hopes it would quicken its pace, but the surprised horse reared up on its back legs.
Tina    "Whoa!"
I scrambled for a handhold, managing to avoid falling off by wrapping my arms around the horse's neck.
Tina    "What's wrong?"
Now the horse had stopped entirely, refusing to budge an inch.
Tina    "You have to move. Please!"
My continued kicks to its sides merely caused the horse to writhe in an attempt to shake me off.
It wouldn't listen to a thing I said.
(I'll never catch up to Louis.)
Just as I began to despair, I heard a deep voice call out from behind.
???    "Is this really the time to be taking riding lessons, Princess?"

====================

I snapped my head around to find the source of the voice.
I found Sid standing there, a big smirk across his face.
Tina    "Sid. What are you—EEK!"
Just then, with a sudden, violent wriggle, my horse nearly succeeded in bucking me off.
Sid    "You're hopeless."
Tina    "Hey!"
Sid stepped forward, grabbing the reins tightly, and leapt onto the saddle right behind me.
Sensing an experienced pair of hands on the reins, the horse promptly calmed down.
Sid    "What do you see in that cold fish of yours, anyways?"
Sid mumbled into my ear, the disgust in his voice more than clear.
Tina    "Cold fish?"
Sid    "You know who I mean. Whatever you're up to, I'm sure it's for Louis."

11.07
[1] “You know me too well.”
Tina    "You know me too well."
Sid    "You two are unbelievable."
I could feel the intake of breath as Sid chuckled to himself.

[2] “He’s in grave danger.” (Sugar)
Tina    "He's in grave danger."
Sid    "You've got that right."

[3] “I just want to protect him.” (Honey)
Tina    "I just want to protect him."
Sid    "I thought that's what you'd say."

I could feel the intake of breath as Sid chuckled to himself.
Sid    "But just remember, my services don't come cheap."
(Is that an offer?)
Sid    "Tell me where you wanna go."
Tina    "To the border!"
The horse launched into a gallop as soon as the words left my mouth.
Near Wysteria's border with Stein—
Several hours had passed since the knights of Stein and Wysteria had made visual contact.
The tension in the air was thick.
Alyn    "Don't get complacent.
Alyn    "The attack could come at any moment."
Knight    "Yessir."
Alyn and the knights' faces remained grim as a mist settled across the border.
Alyn    "What's that?!"
Alyn spun around at the sound of approaching hooves.
Alyn    "Louis?"
The camp was suddenly alive with conversation as the horse's rider came into view.
Knight 1    "A visit from the angel of death himself."
Knight 2    "So the duke wants to see the war he started, huh?"
Alyn    "Quiet, you lot!"
At Alyn's barked command, the knights reluctantly held their tongues.
Veteran Knight    "Your Grace."
One of the older knights approached the duke's horse as his comrades shifted uncomfortably.
Louis    "What is it?"
Veteran Knight    "I heard you were an oprhan.
Veteran Knight    "There are even rumors saying you were actually born in Stein.
Veteran Knight    "So before I go off to fight and maybe die—I'd like to know the truth of that."
The camp fell into silence at the knight's question.
Louis surveyed the knights, his expression unchanged.
Louis    "I myself have no idea whose blood I bear."
Louis's voice was low and quiet, but the knights in the camp hung on his every word.
Louis    "But I can tell you my heart belongs to Wysteria.
Louis    "Even if Stein blood runs in my veins, it will be spilled for the good of Wysteria."

==================

The knights listened quietly as Louis spoke.
And the silence lingered for long afterwards.
Louis    "Alyn."
Alyn    "What is it?"
Louis    "Don't let your men attack, no matter what."
Alyn    "Why? What are you planning?"
Alyn eyed Louis suspiciously.
Louis    "Just promise me that Wysteria won't launch an attack."
Louis repeated his request, ignoring Alyn's question entirely.
Alyn    "Fine."
Alyn nodded. He didn't ask any more questions.
Alyn    "You have my word."
Louis    "Thank you."
At Alyn's vow, a glimmer of relief spread across Louis's face.
Louis turned his horse and rode off towards Stein without a further moment's delay.
Alyn    "Don't tell me he's planning to—"
But Alyn's thought was interrupted by the sound of another set of hooves approaching from behind.
Tina    "Over there!"
Sid    "That squad?"
I could see a group of mounted Wysterian knights beyond the trees.
I spotted a familiar silhouette among them and shouted out his name.
Tina    "Alyn!"
Alyn    "Your Highness?!"
Alyn turned to face the new arrivals, clearly stunned to see them
Alyn    "What are you doing here?"
Tina    "Searching for Louis. Have you seen him?"
Alyn turned away and peered off into the distance after I asked the question.
Alyn    "I think—he's gone to parlay with Stein."
Tina    "With Stein?!"
I traced Alyn's gaze across the battlefield and gasped when I saw what he was looking at.
Though a thin fog had fallen, the silhouette of Louis riding off into the distance was visible in the moonlight.
Tina    "Louis!!!"
I yelled his name as loud as I could, and to my surprise, he stopped his horse and looked back my way.
(What are you doing?)
Once he overcame his initial surprise, Louis flashed me a reassuring smile.
He smiled just as he had back at the stables.
Louis    "I'm going to protect you, and the people who are important to you.
Louis    "After all, I am your prince."
His words reverberating through my mind, my heart felt as if it would burst.
Tina    "Louis! Louis—don't do it!"
The knights of Stein began to encircle Louis and his steed.
Tina    "Sid, take me to Louis."
I hastily motioned in Louis's direction.
But I looked down to find Alyn standing in front of my horse, shaking his head.
Alyn    "I can't let you do that."

==========================

Tina    "Alyn, get out of my way!"
My voice was half-pleading, half-screaming, but Alyn didn't budge.
Alyn    "I can't let you put yourself in danger."
Alyn looked up at me, his glare stern and unyielding.
Alyn    "You're princess of Wysteria."
Tina    "But—"
As I began to protest,
I looked over to see Louis's horse completely surrounded by enemy knights.
(Oh no!)
My heart filled with despair as the scene unfolded before me.
One of the Stein knights lifted a blade to Louis's throat.
Enemy Knight    "Identify yourself."
Louis    "Gladly."
Unfazed, Louis returned the knight's gaze.
The knight holding the sword seemed to shrink away at the determination in Louis's eyes.
Louis    "I am Louis Howard, the man responsible for the apprehension of the archduke of Stein."
Enemy Knight    "What?!"
Louis    "I offer my surrender in exchange for Stein withdrawing its troops."
A murmur ran through the band of knights.
Albert    "Done."
Albert's low, cold voice rang out over the whispers.
Enemy Knight    "Commander Burckhardt!"
Albert    "King Byron will be most eager to have word with this man.
Albert    "Put him in irons."
Louis    "........."
(Oh, no!)
From afar, I watched as Louis's hands be shackled.
Tina    "No!"
I clenched my hands into fists.
It was the only way I could stop myself from crying.
(Don't do this, Louis.
(Please. I need you with me...)
Sid    "Byron's a reasonable man."
Sid watched on as well, but for the first time I saw no hint of a smile across his face.
Sid    "They won't kill him. Not right away, at least."
Alyn    "Hey!"
Alyn shot Sid a gaze sharper than the blade at his waist.
Alyn    "I'm sure he'll be fine."
Sid    "......"
I lost sight of Louis as the throng of knights around him grew.
The entire army seemed to be withdrawing.
Knight    "Duke Howard just stopped the war."
The knights of Wysteria seemed to be every bit as surprised as their counterparts from Stein had been.
(He protected us all.)
Louis    "Because I finally found something that was important to me.
Louis    "Something so irreplaceable, something that I could never bear to lose."
Tina    "........."
It was only after snapping back to the present I noticed the tears streaming down my face.
(I'd found something that was important to me, too.
(So invaluable, so irreplaceable, I will not stand to lose him!)

======================

I wiped away my tears with the back of my hand and turned to face Sid.
Tina    "Sid."
Sid    "What now, Princess?"
Tina    "Help me and I'll pay whatever reward you want."
(I'm coming to get you, Louis!)
Albert    "I present you with Louis Howard, Your Majesty."
Byron    "Hm."
Albert pushed Louis forward, his hands still tightly shackled.
Byron    "You're dismissed, Albert.
Byron    "The duke and I shall talk alone."
Albert gave a shallow bow and left the room.
Byron stared straight into Louis's eyes as the door thudded shut.
Byron    "Tell me the truth, now.
Byron    "Was the attack on our archduke carried out on your orders?"
Louis    "No. It was not, Your Majesty"
Louis answered firmly, staring straight back at Byron.
Byron    "I had suspected as much."
Byron narrowed his eyes.
Byron    "I sensed no signs of duplicity from you at our last meeting.
Byron    "I assumed from the start that this was some kind of misunderstanding."
Byron lowered his gaze and furrowed his brow, seemingly deep in thought.
Byron    "But the choice of target complicates things.
Byron    "The archduke is a powerful man with much influence in our military.
Byron    "This is not a situation that can be resolved with mere words."
Louis    "I understand."
Louis stood perfectly still as Byron spoke.
Byron    "Without irrefutable proof of your innocence,
Byron    "I'm afraid there is no way to stop this war."
Louis    "Even if you were to present His Grace with my head on a pike?"
King Byron was taken aback by Louis's resolute reply.
His gaze returned to Louis's face, searching for any sign of insincerity.
Byron    "Why would you make such an offer if you're innocent?"
For once, there was legitimate confusion in Byron's voice.
Louis maintained his composure, his eye contact with the king steady.
Louis    "To protect the person who gave my life meaning."

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Louis Howard Honey- Part 12

By the time I returned to the palace, the dark of night had begun to yield to the pink light of dawn.
I should have been exhausted. But even in bed, I remained wide awake.
I couldn't stop thinking about the news I'd heard from the palace maids.
Stein continued to maintain its troops at the border.
(They've captured Louis, the person they believe responsible for the war.
(If it wasn't for Louis's sacrifice, there wouldn't be a ceasefire now.
(I hope they haven't hurt him.)
I got out of bed and sat at the new boudoir in the corner of my room.
It was just few days ago I'd received it as a gift from Louis.
As I stared at my reflection in the looking glass, I thought back to that day.
It was the same day I told Giles I chose Louis as my prince consort.
Giles    "When His Majesty is feeling stronger, please do be sure to tell him the good news. It would put his mind very much to ease.
Giles    "Come to my office tomorrow and we'll discuss the particulars of the announcement ceremony."
Tina    "Very well."
Out in the hall, I took a deep breath to steady my nerves.
(I can't believe I actually said it—)
Tina    "As princess of Wysteria, I choose Duke Louis Howard to serve as my prince consort."
Thinking back to that moment—
I still felt the same giddy excitement now as I did then.
Louis    "Tina."
I turned to find Louis standing beside me, a calm smile on his face.
(We did it, Louis.)
Full of joy for our future, I returned the smile myself.
Louis took my hand, pulling me gently towards him.
Louis    "Come with me."
Tina    "Where?"
Louis    "There's something I want to show you."

===================

Louis led me back to his chamber.
There, he brought me to a corner and told me to wait.
Tina    "What's this about, Louis?"
As if in answer, Louis pulled aside a beautifully embroidered cloth sheet.
Beneath it was a delicately ornamented dressing table.
(It's beautiful.)
Tina    "What is this?"
Louis    "I wanted to have a present ready for when you chose a suitor to be your prince consort."

12.02
[1] “A suitor?” (Honey)
Tina    "A suitor?"
Louis    "I had a feeling you would be choosing somebody soon."
(I'd never even considered picking anyone but you, Louis.)

[2] “Even if it wasn’t you?”
Tina    "Even if it wasn't you?"
Louis    "Er, yes, of course."

[3] “You’re the only one for me.” (Sugar)
Tina    "You're the only one for me, Louis."
Louis    "I'm so happy to hear it."

(I'd never even considered picking anyone but you, Louis.)
Sensing I was upset about the way he'd phrased his statement, Louis reached out and ran a gentle hand through my hair.
Louis    "I didn't think you'd ever choose me when I bought it."
(Wait a minute—)
I thought back to the way Louis used to act, always pushing me away so we'd never become too close.
(He bought this way back then?)
Louis    "Take a seat."
At Louis's urging, I sat down at the boudoir.
As I caught his eye through the looking glass Louis smiled, wrapping his arms around me from behind.
Tina    "Don't look at me like that..."
Seeing the two of us reflected in the mirror sent my heart racing.
Louis    "Now the mere thought of you being with someone else is almost too much to bear."
Louis's breath tickled against my neck as he spoke.
Louis    "Thank you for choosing me."
Tina    "Oh, Louis."
Louis's hugged me even tighter as I called his name.
Having him so close filled my heart with sheer joy.
Tina    "I should be the one thanking you."
(You've always been there whenever I needed you.)
Tina    "I wonder what I should give my suitor in return?"
I flashed a smile at Louis through the looking glass.
Louis    "Your suitor?"
Tina    "Yes. I need to get you an engagement present too!"
Louis    "........."
Louis rested his chin upon my shoulder. His reflection in the mirror seemed to be pondering the question deeply.
(He's so cute when he's deep in thought like that.)
As I fought the temptation to run my hands through his hair, Louis whispered in my ear.
Louis    "All I want is you, Tina.
Louis    "There's so much I want to see and do together.
Louis    "I'm glad we have the rest of our lives to do it."

====================

Louis    "There's so much I want to see and do together.
Louis    "I'm glad we have the rest of our lives to do it."
Gently turning my head towards his, Louis leaned in and kissed me softy.
Tina    "What kind of present is that?"
I asked with a playful smile, as his lips pulled away from mine.
Louis    "A greedy one. I'm asking for the rest of your life."
Tina    "But I already gave you that."
As Louis and I leaned on each other, forehead to forehead, we shared a smile.
Louis leaned forward, cradling my head in his hands as he kissed me again and again.
(I still haven't given him my engagement present. And now I'm not sure if I ever will.)
The memory left my heart aching.
As I softly ran my fingers across dressing table mirror, I heard the door open behind me.
Sid    "You're still up?"
Tina    "Sid! Don't you know how to knock?!"
I turned towards the door in surprise.
Sid    "I've got some info. Do you want it or not?"
I scowled, angry at his sudden intrusion, but nodded all the same.
Sid    "As predicted, Nico crossed the border and returned to Stein.
Sid    "He arrived at Stein Castle late last night."
Tina    "I see."
I had figured as much, but it still hurt to know we'd lost our biggest lead.
Sid    "So what now?"
Tina    "We need some sort of evidence that will prove Louis's innocence."
Sid    "Nico's the only evidence there is."
Tina    "Then we'll just have to convince Nico to help us."
I announced the plan without hesitation.
(It's the only way to save Louis.)
Sid    "You want help from the enemy?"
Tina    "Yes."
Sid    "He's already betrayed you once."
Sid sighed and shook his head.
Tina    "........."
Struggling to come up with a reply, my thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.
Giles and Leo entered.
Giles    "Excuse the interruption."
Both men wore grim expressions on their faces.
My heart sank. I wasn't sure I could take more bad news.
Tina    "Has something happened?"
Giles studied me for a moment before replying, his voice heavy with concern.
Giles    "Stein has announced their terms for a full withdrawal."
Tina    "Their terms?"
I had a terrible feeling about this.
Giles    "Yes, Tina—
Giles    "As redress for the damage inflicted upon Stein,
Giles    "they say they intend to take Duke Howard's life."

===================

Giles    "As redress for the damage inflicted upon Stein,
Giles    "they say they intend to take Duke Howard's life."
Utterly shocked, I could hardly breathe.
My vision blurred and my mind went blank.
(Louis's life?)
The sounds around me faded to a distant din.
All I could hear was the sound of my heartbeat.
(They're...They're going to—
(They're going to kill Louis?!)
Giles    "The execution is scheduled for this afternoon."
Giles's droning voice suddenly snapped back into clarity.
Tina    "This afternoon?!"
(Even if I did find evidence, it's too late to prove his innocence.)
Tina    "But Louis didn't even do anything wrong!"
Giles closed his eyes and looked away, a pained expression on his face.
Giles    "Duke Howard took full responsibility for the attack,
Giles    "in order to alleviate tensions between the two countries and prevent a war."
(But even if he had—)
Tina    "King Byron wouldn't execute him for that!"
I simply refused to believe it.
It was true I'd only met him once before.
But the person I met then didn't seem like the type to make so ruthless a judgment.
Giles    "If this situation escalates into a war, there will be many casualties on both sides.
Giles    "The tragedy would not likely be restricted to knights. Civilians rarely emerge unscathed from war."
(Civilians—)
The faces of the children back in town flashed before my eyes.
(Even those children would be in danger if war breaks out.)
Giles    "The attack upon Stein's archduke incited great animosity towards Wysteria.
Giles    "King Byron needs a way to de-escalate the situation.
Giles    "He may have figured that this was his only option."
Tina    "But it's a gross injustice!"
Giles    "An injustice it may be, but there is no greater injustice than war."
Tina    "........."
I opened my mouth to respond to Giles's coolly delivered justification, but I just couldn't find the words.
Leo    "I suspect Louis felt the same way, which is why he surrendered to Stein in the first place."
I remembered the smile on Louis's face when I'd last seen him.
(It was just as he'd promised.
(Louis had vowed to protect the things that were important to me.
(And now he's giving his life to protect the children of Wysteria.)
Suddenly, the confusion and distress in my mind gave way to perfect clarity.
I looked at Giles and Leo, speaking in a clear and confident tone.
Tina    "So what's important is that somebody takes responsibility and accepts the punishment for it."
Giles    "Tina?"
Leo    "Tina, what are you thinking?"
Both men stared at me, concerned looks on their faces.
Tina    "As princess of Wysteria, as well as a citizen of Wysteria myself,
Tina    "I want nothing more than to keep my kingdom safe.
Tina    "I know that is a feeling I share with you, Giles, and you, Leo, and all of our brave knights.
Tina    "And it is one I share with Louis as well.
Tina    "But I am a woman first and foremost,
Tina    "and I do not want to lose the man I love."
Giles's eyes widened as he opened his mouth to speak.
Giles    "Where are you going with this, Your Highness?"
Tina    "I will accept the punishment in Louis's stead."

=======================

Tina    ”I will accept the punishment in Louis's stead."
The color faded from Giles's and Leo's faces.
Leo    "That's insane!"
Giles    "There is simply no way we could ever permit that!"
Tina    "In exchange, Louis will return to Wysteria to serve as prince consort and take over the throne as king in place of me."
(He is certainly the best man for the job,
(even if he'd have to do it without me by his side.)
Giles    "That hardly—"
The consternation was plain on Giles's face. Ignoring his objections, I continued.
Tina    "The primary role of a princess is to ensure the continuation of a royal line that rules over Wysteria.
Tina    "So I have now fulfilled my duty."
Giles    "........."
Giles abandoned his protestations and stood there watching me in silence.
Tina    "Louis will make an exceptional king."
I looked from Giles to Leo in turn as I spoke.
Tina    "As for the controversy about the false orders—
Tina    "the truth of that will soon emerge."
Giles    "Princess Tina—"
Leo    "Tina—"
Both men were clearly conflicted.
I held their stares, the resolve clear in my face.
(Please, let me go to Louis.)
Sid    "You've got a lot of guts for a princess."
Sid listened so quietly I'd forgotten he was even there.
He took a step towards me, and before I realized what he intended to do, I was up in the air.
Tina    "H-Hey! Stop it!"
To my stunned surprise, Sid picked me up and threw me over his shoulder.
Tina    "Wh-What are you doing?!"
Giles    "Sid. I order you to stop!"
Sid turned to Giles and flashed him a malevolent smile.
Sid    "Whatever the princess says goes, right?
Sid    "I'll take you to Stein, princess. This is gonna be good."

Louis Part12_end-Honey.png   
=======================

Sid and I rode for Stein Castle.
There, we infiltrated King Byron's keep through a secret passage Sid had used in the past.
Sid    "I imagine the execution is taking place in the central courtyard, right through that door."
Tina    "Okay."
(Stay strong, Louis. I'm coming!)
Unable to suppress my sense of urgency, I ran down the castle hallway.
Tina    "Oh!"
As I turned a corner, I saw the shape of a man and skidded to a stop before we collided.
Albert    "I know you."
Startled, I looked up at the source of the voice, high above my own head.
(It's the knight who's always by King Byron's side!)
Albert    "Tell me. What is the princess of Wysteria doing in our castle?"
I struggled to find a plausible answer to that question and failed.
I could feel the blood draining from my face.
Sid    "Easy there."
Sid joined the conversation just as the knight put his hand around the hilt of his sword.
Sid stepped in between the knight and I. Was he trying to protect me?
Albert    "You."
Sid    "No one's here to hurt your precious King Byron, okay?"
The knight arched an eyebrow, but Sid just laughed. He didn't seem even remotely intimidated.
Sid    "How about you look the other way and we all pretend this didn't happen?"
Albert    "Don't make me laugh."
The knight slid the blade from his scabbard, pointing it at Sid.
(What should we do?!)
I was too terrified to move, but Sid caught my eye and flashed me a thin smile.
Sid    "Clock's ticking, Princess.
Sid    "Better snap out of it, fast."
He raised an eyebrow and motioned with his chin towards the door.
I got the message loud and clear.
(He wants me to go on without him.)
Tina    "Thank you."
I whispered under my breath as I nodded at Sid.
I turned on my heels and ran for the door. I didn't look back.
All that mattered to me now was what was behind that door.
(Louis! I'm coming!)

===================

The door swung open with a soft creak.
Louis's eyes widened with surprise as he looked up at his visitor.
Louis    "Nico?!"
Nico    "Your Grace."
Nico wore a Stein knight's uniform.
Louis tried to stifle a gasp.
Louis    "What are you doing?"
Nico stood quietly as a wave of emotions flashed across Louis's face.
After a moment, he stepped over to Louis and, producing a key from his pocket, unlocked the cuffs around his arms and legs.
Nico    "You need to get out of here before it's too late. Go find Tina and be with her."
The sound of Tina's name sent a chill down Louis's spine.
But his emotions settled quickly, and in a moment Louis's face was composed again.
Louis    "I can't.
Louis    "If I were to run away now, there'd be no stopping the war."
Nico    "You don't need to die to prevent this war.
Nico    "It was all a terrible mistake."
Nico's face twisted into a strange mix of emotions.
This display did not escape Louis's notice.
Louis    "Nico—"
Suddenly Louis understood everything. But his voice remained quiet and unhurried.
Louis    "It was you, wasn't it?"
Just then, they heard shouting from the hall outside.
Guard    "We've got a problem!
Guard    "The princess of Wysteria is at the gallows!"
Louis    "She wouldn't—"
Louis bolted towards the door like a flying arrow.
Louis    "Tina, wait!"
Louis threw open the door and ran down the hall, without so much as a single glance back at Nico.
(Where is he?)
Out at the gallows, I held my breath as I searched for any sign of Louis.
Mercifully, he wasn't hanging from the gallows rope.
(Thank heavens. I made it in time.)
Guard    "What are you doing here?"
But a guard spotted me and drew his sword before I'd even finished my sigh of relief.
Tina    "I have a request for King Byron."
I clenched my fists tight to keep my voice from shaking in fear.
Tina    "I ask that I be executed in Duke Howard's place.
Tina    "Please, take me to King Byron."

==================

My request to die in Louis's place had the guards in an uproar.
(But where is he? Where's Louis?)
Standing motionless so as not to provoke the guards, I scanned the courtyard for any sign of Louis.
(I just want to see one last glimpse of him—)
The guard who apprehended me called out in a voice that was gravelly and stern.
Guard    "You expect us to believe that?"
Tina    "I do."
Guard    "You've lied to us before.
Guard    "A Wysterian's word is worth less than dirt."
The guard's anger was plain on his face.
Guard    "This could be some plot to assassinate the king!"
Tina    "I assure you—"
But the guard wasn't interested in a discussion. He lifted his sword high, his eyes still fixed upon me.
As the sword glimmered in the sun, I shut my eyes instinctively.
(Louis, help!)
Just as I was about to call out,
I heard the heavy clang of metal striking metal before me.
(What was that?)
I opened my eyes slowly.
I saw a glimpse of beautiful blond hair fluttering in the breeze.
(Louis?)
Daring to hope, I opened my eyes wide.
The harsh sound of metal on metal rang out once more.
Louis effortlessly knocked away the guard's blade with his skilled swordsmanship.
Louis    "Don't you dare touch Tina!"
Guard    "Hrmph!"
The guard flinched, taking a step back.
Louis seized the opportunity to wrap an arm around my waist and pull me towards him.
(Louis, is that really you?)
Louis regarded me with a furrowed brow.
Louis    "You shouldn't have come here."
I still couldn't believe it was really him.
Louis hugged me tightly.
(It really is him.)
Tina    "Louis—"
Suddenly my eyes welled up with tears.
Tina    "Oh, Louis. It's you! It's really you!"
I wrapped my arms around Louis's neck, tightly hugging him back.
I knew this was neither the time nor the place, but I didn't know how else to stop the tears.
Louis    "Tina—"
I could feel his warmth surrounding me.
And the warmth of his body was enough to set me crying again.
Tina    "Thank heavens you're still alive."
Louis    "You too, Tina."

=====================

Guard    "How did you get out of your cell?!"
Angry voices rang out as the courtyard filled with guards.
(Now what do we do?)
Louis and I were surrounded by the points of countless blades.
Louis    "We'll be fine."
Tina    "We will?"
I looked up at Louis's face, and found a reassuring smile to match his comforting voice.
Louis    "Trust me."
(Louis?)
I tilted my head in confusion at Louis's strangely relaxed attitude.
Byron    "What is the meaning of this?"
A quiet voice cut through the din of clattering swords and armor.
(King Byron!)
The king raised an eyebrow in apparent confusion.
Byron    "Princess Tina?"
His eyes landed on Louis next.
Byron    "Who released Duke Howard from his chains?"
Louis met Byron's gaze, but said nothing in reply.
The guards lapsed into a confused silence.
Finally, someone spoke.
Nico    "I did."
The confident voice echoed throughout the courtyard.
Tina    "Nico?"
I stared in surprise at Nico as he confidently strode towards King Byron.
Nico    "I freed Duke Howard from his shackles."
Coolly, Nico looked up into the eyes of his king.
Byron    "Why?"
Nico    "Because he has been falsely convicted of ordering the attack on the archduke."
Byron    "And how do you know this?"
Nico's brow twitched slightly under the king's quiet questioning.
Nico    "Because I was the one who forged and sent the false orders."
Tina    "Nico..."
Gasps resounded through the army of guardsmen, but King Byron betrayed no hint of surprise.
Byron    "Your proof?"
Nico    "I have here a document that I stole from Duke Howard."
Nico produced a piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to the king.
Nico    "If you lay the false orders over this, you'll be able to tell
Nico    "I merely traced the signature from this document."
(Oh, Nico—)
After locking eyes for a few more seconds, King Byron spoke, his voice quiet and cool.
Byron    "Everyone, sheathe your swords."
The guards around us seemed reluctant to comply, but every man among them slid their blades back into their scabbards.
Byron    "Duke Howard. Princess Tina."
I turned back to King Byron to find his eyes already locked upon Louis and I.
Byron    "I apologize."
With those two softly delivered words,
the war between Stein and Wysteria ended before it began.
Byron    "I will see you safely back to the Wysterian palace."

======================

Tina    "Louis. Oh, Louis."
I curled up in Louis's arms as we rode back to Wysteria.
I couldn't stop saying his name.
Louis gently cradled me in his arms, calming me down on our long journey home.
(It's really you, Louis.)
That familiar smell, comforting warmth—
Louis    "Tina."
That sweet way he said my name.
Everything I had wanted to protect was back where it belonged.
Tina    "You're such a fool."
Louis    "I know."
I hadn't intended to say that out loud.
But there was no holding back neither my thoughts nor my tears.
Tina    "You promised to turn to me when things went wrong!
Tina    "But instead you ran off to handle everything yourself!
Tina    "You aren't alone anymore!"
I was squeezing him hard now, using my body to get my point across.
Tina    "I could have helped you! We could have gotten through this together!"
Louis    "You're right."
Louis nodded slightly, saying little as he accepted my complaints without resistance.
He only hugged me harder as I opened my mouth to continue.
Tina    "You were supposed to protect me!
Tina    "How would I have ever been okay without you?"
Louis    "You're right."
Tina    "From now on—

12.10
[1] “You need to start protecting us.” (Honey)
Tina    "You need to start protecting us."
Louis    "I know that now, Tina."
Tina    "Because, Louis—you're the only prince I have."

[2] “I don’t want you leaving me.”
Tina    "I don't want you leaving me."
Louis    "Okay."

[3] “Don’t handle things by yourself!” (Sugar)
Tina    "Don't handle things by yourself!"
Louis    "I'm sorry."

Tina    "Because, Louis—you're the only prince I have."
For a moment, Louis looked as though he were about to cry.
Louis    "I was a fool, Tina."
Louis wiped the tears from around my eyes, his eyes a hoarse whisper as he spoke.
Louis    "I was so afraid of losing the thing I valued most, I nearly destroyed it myself."
Louis's fingers trembled slightly as he wiped the tears from my cheeks.
Louis    "I'm sorry, Tina."
Louis leaned forward and gently kissed away the remaining tears from my face.
Louis    "I am so sorry."
A single tear from Louis fell upon my cheek.
Tina    "Oh, Louis.
Tina    "You don't need to worry so much about losing me.
Tina    "I won't ever leave you alone."
I slowly extended a hand to Louis's face.
I wiped away his tears, just as he had for me.
Tina    "Stay by my side, okay?"
Louis    "......"
As Louis nodded, even more tears rolled down his cheeks.
I could taste their saltiness as I pressed my lips to his.

Louis Part12_end-Honey.png  

=======================

Louis main story_L13_Honey ending.png  

Louis Howard Honey- ending~


Nico stepped in front of King Byron with a stumble, as if Albert had given him a stiff shove.
Byron    "Nico."
Nico    "Your Majesty."
Nico shivered involuntarily at the sound of his king's quiet voice.
Byron    "Why did you write false orders to frame Duke Howard?"
Nico    "For one reason only, Your Majesty.
Nico    "To facilitate the annexation of Wysteria by Stein."
Byron    "I do not recall ordering you to do such a thing."
Albert    "Did you think that would be a good way to curry favor with His Majesty?"
Nico    "........."
Nico fell silent. Albert's words had hit the mark.
Byron    "If that was your intention,
Byron    "then why did you change your mind and try to save Wysteria?"
For the first time, Nico looked up from his feet to face his king.
Nico    "Because I wanted Tina to be happy."
Nico said with clear confidence, meeting Byron's gaze head-on.
Albert    "Hmph."
Albert stood for a moment, awestruck, before delivering a weary sigh.
Byron    "We've avoided a war this time.
Byron    "But that does not mean that your crime will be forgiven.
Byron    "You would benefit from some time in a cell to reflect."
Nico    "Yes, Your Majesty."
Dejected, Nico returned his gaze his to feet. Albert grabbed his arm to lead him away.
Byron    "Nico."
Nico turned back to King Byron at the sound of his name.
Byron    "I look forward to your tea service once you've completed your sentence."
A smile spread across Nico's sunken face.
Nico    "It would be an honor, Your Majesty."
Nico punctuated his choked response with a deep bow.
After his return to the palace, the Kingdom of Stein issued a formal apology absolving Louis of any blame.
Nevertheless—
Leo    "The whole town is positively abuzz with rumors."
Robert    "I've heard them too.
Robert    "The ones about how Duke Howard offered his life to save the country?"
Leo    "Oh, it gets better.
Leo    "They say the princess infiltrated the enemy's castle all by herself to rescue him.
Leo    "Sound just like a fairy tale.
Leo    "Doesn't it, Tina?"
Leo flashed me a beaming smile.
My cheeks turned rose red at the mere suggestion.
Tina    "Stop teasing me!"
Since Robert was busy painting my portrait at the moment,
I couldn't even look away or even move at all.
Robert    "If you're going with that complexion for your portrait, Tina—
Robert    "I might just run out of red paint."
Leo and Robert both burst into laughter.
Tina    "Must you mock me too, Robert?"
A knock at the door interrupted their merriment.

===================

The door opened to reveal—
Louis    "Tina."
Tina    "Louis!"
I was so happy to see him I leapt to my feet, the portrait momentarily forgotten.
Robert    "Ah, are we done for the day? We'll have to continue this next time."
Tina    "Thank you, Robert."
I curtsied to Robert as he began tidying up his brushes, and made my way over to Louis.
Leo    "Well, if it isn't Prince Charming!"
Tina    "Don't start, Leo."
Leo grinned widely, clearly enjoying himself a bit too much.
Leo    "But the announcement ceremony is tomorrow, right?
Leo    "I'm really looking forward to it."
Having had his fill of jests, Leo gave us a gentle smile.
(I can never stay mad at Leo.)
I could tell from the warmth of his smile Leo was genuinely happy for us.
Tina    "Thank you, Leo."
I curtsied to Leo before turning my attention to Louis.
Louis gently took my hand in his.
Louis    "Let's get going."
Tina    "Okay."
As we exchanged smiles, Louis squeezed my hand.
Tina    "I can't believe it's tomorrow."
Louis    "Neither can I."
(Tomorrow, the identity of my prince consort will be known to the world.
(It feels like a dream come true.
(I thought I had lost Louis for good, but come tomorrow we'll pledge our service to Wysteria as princess and prince.)
Tina    "It's a little nerve-racking, isn't it?"
Louis    "Yes."
(Wait a minute—)
Sensing legitimate discomfort in his reply, I looked up at Louis.
The tension was plain on his face.
Tina    "Don't tell me you're nervous too?"
Louis    "Perhaps...a little."
But the deep furrows between his eyebrows told a different story.
Seeing Louis like that, I couldn't help but laugh at how cute he looked.
Louis    "Tina?"
Louis stared at me, confused.
Tina    "Sorry. You're just so cute when you're nervous."
Louis    "......"
Louis turned away to hide his embarrassment, but not before I caught a glimpse of his reddening cheeks.
It only made him cuter.
Tina    "You're adorable when you blush."
Louis    "I am not."
Tina    "You are too!"
(This is another side of Louis I've never seen before.)
I was far too happy to hold back another giggle.
Louis    "......"
Louis glared at me in an attempt to stop my laughter, but I could tell he was still a bit embarrassed by it all.
Tina    "So adora—"
But this time, Louis cut me off before the word could leave my lips.

=====================

Every time I opened my mouth to speak, Louis stopped me with a fiery kiss.
Tina    "Lou—Mmm..."
(We shouldn't be doing this in the palace halls!)
But every time I tried to pull away, Louis had me back in another kiss.
Louis    "Shhh."
Louis's low whisper reverberated throughout my body.
Tina    "Mmph..."
Ripples of pleasure spread through my body as Louis's lips caressed mine.
I looked up at Louis, my eyes half open.
Louis    "Now you're the adorable one."
Louis's smile shone through his eyes, giving me another tantalizing peek at the real Louis.
Louis slowly pulled away, caressing a flushed cheek as he gazed into my eyes.
Tina    "Don't look at me—"
I pulled away and hid my face as best I could.
Just imagining how red my cheeks must have been was more than enough.
Seemingly amused by my struggles, Louis just laughed.
The sounds of our footsteps echoed against the high ceiling. Louis and I stopped at the foot of the throne.
We were visiting the hall where the announcement ceremony would be held.
Tina    "Right here."
(This is where our engagement will be made official, and Louis will be named future prince consort of Wysteria.)
It was Louis's idea to ease our nerves by walking through the steps of tomorrow's ceremony.
(But now I'm more nervous than ever.)
Tina    "Hey, Louis—"
When I turned to face him, I found him staring straight at me.
Tina    "Is something wrong?"
Louis    "Tina, stand right there."
Tina    "Here? How come?"
Louis's request struck me as odd,but I did as he asked.
His eyes still locked on mine, Louis knelt down on one knee.
Tina    "Louis?"
Louis    "Since you'll be officially choosing me tomorrow as your prince consort in your role as princess of Wysteria,
Louis    "I'd like to make my own personal vow to you today."

=====================

Tina    "A vow—to me?"
Louis took my hand, his expression earnest.
He held the back of my hand to his forehead, as if he was about to make confess something.
Tina    "Louis, what is this?"
The vast hall fell into silence.
After a few moments, Louis took a deep breath and began to speak, his voice a quiet whisper.
Louis    "I ask you to forgive me for what happened in Stein.
Louis    "I believed it was best for me to die in order to protect you."
(Is that what this is about?)
Louis    "I knew that if either side had initiated an attack, it would quickly escalate into a full-blown war.
Louis    "And at that point, no proof of my innocence would stop it.
Louis    "So I went to Stein in hopes of preventing an attack."
I remembered the sight of Louis's back as he rode off to Stein.
I felt a weak echo of the pain I'd felt then.
Louis    "It wasn't until you told me that I was everything you had,
Louis    "I realized there is so much more to protecting someone, and loving someone
Louis    "than merely being willing to die for them."
I took a deep breath as Louis's words sank in.
(I'm as guilty of that as he is.)
Tina    "I was ready to die for you, too.
Tina    "That's why I went to Stein. To offer myself in your place."
Louis    "Tina—"
(I'd never stopped to think about what would become of Louis after I left him alone in this world.)
I suddenly understood what I had failed to realize when I rode off to Stein.
The pain of being abandoned by someone you loved was a fate far worse than death.
Tina    "Louis, can you ever forgive me, too?"
I knelt beside Louis on the cold marble floor.
Louis    "Shall we call it even?"
Louis met my eyes with a smile.
How I loved that smile.
Tina    "Oh, Louis."
The expression on his face was as honest as it was beautiful.
He loved me as I was, faults and all.
Louis    "Tina, from this day forth, I vow to never leave you, no matter what happens.
Louis    "Because you've taught me how to love, and how to be loved."
Louis pressed his lips to the back of my hand.
My heart bust with joy. I was so happy, I nearly began to cry.
Louis    "Tina—
Louis    "Will you live your life with me, for as long as we have together on this earth?"
As I smiled at Louis, the world around me becoming blurred by the tears streaming down my face.
Tina    "I want nothing more."

=====================

After we exchanged our vows, Louis took my hand and led me out of the assembly hall.
Louis insisted on escorting me to my room, as always.
The palace was unusually lively for this time of night, as everyone was getting ready for tomorrow's announcement ceremony.
Tina    "I've been meaning to ask, Louis—has your wound fully healed?"
I had forgotten all about it until I found myself staring at his back as he led me down the hall.
Louis    "For the most part, yes."
(That would be something of a miracle.)
Louis's wound was dressed after the archduke's attack, but he ran off to Stein before it had much of a chance to mend.
Tina    "Are you sure?"
I couldn't help but worry.
Louis    "Care to see for yourself?"
Tina    "I would. Wait, what?"
I responded before I had time to register his meaning.
(What did he mean, "see for myself?")
Louis stopped walking, so I did as well. I hadn't realized we were already at my chamber door.
Louis    "This reminds me of the last time I escorted you here, and the time before that.
Louis    "You stopped me from returning to my quarters both times."
There was something suggestive about Louis's voice as he spoke.
(Why did he have to put it that way?)
I stood quietly, too embarrassed to admit it.
Louis looked down at me and chuckled.
Louis    "Well? Aren't you going to stop me from going back again?"
I stared, entranced, as Louis's slender fingers stroked my hair.
Tina    "Well—"
I wanted him to touch me more.
(I have to resist—)
I was too embarrassed to finish my thought.
As I stood there in silence, Louis ran his hands down to my shoulders.
Before slowly edging along the line of my collarbone.
Tina    "Louis, you can't—"
A sigh escaped my lips as his hands continued their journey.
Louis's fingers edged upward, slowly caressing the line of my neck.
Louis    "I'm afraid you're out of time."
Louis placed a finger to my lips, as if he were hushing me.
Louis    "Even if you ask me to leave now, I'm afraid you'll be stuck with me."

公主試驗
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-----------------------------------------------------------

We exchanged countless kisses as our bodies sunk into the bed.
Tina    "Oh, Louis..."
I ran my hand along Louis's back and gasped.
(His wound!)
I opened my eyes to see a smile on Louis's face without a single hint of pain.
Louis    "I told you, I'm fine."
Tina    "If you're sure—"
I couldn't help but remember the way he'd taken that sword swing for me.
Louis    "Tina, what about you?"
Tina    "I'm fine, Louis! You need to focus on yourself now!"
Louis    "Good..."
My heart still hurts when I remember how pale he looked, lying unconscious in my arms.
But when he smiled at me like he did just then, I felt the purest happiness I'd ever known.
(I want Louis. I want all of him.)
Carefully, I wrapped my arms around Louis's neck.
While taking care not to touch his back, I made my intentions clear.
Tina    "Mmmm."
I moaned as Louis playfully nibbled my earlobe.
Just then, I saw Lucia's cage begin to rattle from the corner of my eye.
(Oh!)
Tina    "Lucia's watching us."
Suddenly embarrassed, I dropped my arms from Louis's neck and rolled to the side.
Louis    "......"
Louis stared at the birdcage in silence.
(What's he thinking about?)
But after a moment—
Tina    "Aaah!"
Louis pulled a bed sheet from above, shielding our bodies from Lucia's watchful eye.
Tina    "Louis?"
Hidden beneath the sheet, we were shielded from both light and noise.
In the dim light, the only thing I could distinctly make out was the warmth of Louis's touch.
My body grew warmer and warmer.
Louis    "Not even Lucia's allowed to see you."
All I could hear in our secret hideaway were Louis's sweet whispers, our sighs, and the beating of my heart.
Louis    "Nor anybody else either.
Louis    "You're mine and mine alone."
Louis continued, his voice raw with passion.
Chills shot through my body as Louis explored my neck with playful kisses.
Tina    "Only...yours..."
I finally managed a response, my voice raw and uneven.
Overcome with passion, I wrapped my arms around Louis's neck, pulling myself closer and closer.
......
The palace staff buzzed outside our door, making the final preparations for the announcement ceremony.
I stood in front of the dressing table.
I examined my reflection, studying my dress and hair ornament.
(The day is finally here.)
I heard a knock at the door, and turned to find it swing open.
Louis stepped into the room, holding a small box.
Tina    "What's in the box, Louis?"
Louis    "What do you think?"
Louis removed a small object from the box, and then reached over to gently pull my hair from my face.
With nimble fingers, Louis attached something to my ears.
Tina    "What are these?"
I turned back to examine my reflection in the looking glass once more, and saw two brilliant blue stones sparkling on my ears.
(They're beautiful!)
Tina    "Thank you, Louis."
I spoke to Louis's reflection as I watched him in the mirror. He placed his hands around my neck from behind.
Tina    "Is something wrong?"
Louis    "Not for long."
(Oh, I see!)
He'd been straightening the ribbon I wore around my neck.
His task complete, Louis smiled at me through the looking glass.
Louis    "There. You look lovely."
(Nothing makes me happier than a compliment from Louis.)
Louis    "We should be going soon."
Tina    "Yes, you're right."
My heart started thumping powerfully in my chest.
I could feel my entire body tensing up.
Louis    "Are you nervous?"
Tina    "A little."
Louis    "......"
Louis looked at me, his face slightly concerned. After a moment he abruptly blew in my ear.
Tina    "Eek!"
I nearly jumped out of my skin in surprise.
Tina    "L-Louis! What are you doing?!"
Louis    "You'll be fine."
Louis stroked my hair, a mischievous smile on his face.
(Was that some sort of trick to help calm my nerves?)
Now that the surprise had faded, my shoulders did seem a little looser.
And the tension in my chest seemed lighter as well.
Tina    "Thank you. I—I do feel better."
Louis    "I know."
Taking my hand into his, Louis and I set off for the assembly hall.

Louis Part13_Ch005-Honey  
====================

I surveyed the audience from my throne.
Giles and Leo watched over me, broad smiles on their faces.
(I certainly haven't made things easy for those two.)
His Majesty the King was also in attendance, who had offered his blessing when he heard of our engagement.
(Everyone seems anxious for the announcement.)
I could feel the stares of the assembled citizens as they waited eagerly to meet their new prince consort.
(On top of married life, my future husband will have to share in bearing the fate of an entire country.
(And yet...)
The massive doors to the audience area swung slowly open.
Behind them stood Louis, his head held high.
(I think Louis is up for the task.)
Louis's eyes met mine, and he took a step forward.
That was the cue for the team of knights commanded by Alyn to raise their swords in unison.
Louis continued his slow advance beneath the canopy of crossed blades.
Finally, he knelt down before me in a single, graceful movement.
It reminded me of the day we first met.
And yet, there was something fundamentally different about him now.
(I don't think anyone's going to be making jokes about ice sculptures today.)
The Louis I knew was straightforward, kind, and even a bit awkward at times.
(And oh so affectionate.)
Tina    "Louis Howard."
Simply saying his name overwhelmed me with emotion.
Tina    "I, Tina, princess of Wysteria,"
Tina    "hereby ask your hand in marriage so that you may become my future husband and prince consort. Do you accept?"
With that, I offered my hand out to Louis. A moment later, he softly took my hand in his.
A grandiose fanfare played, shattering the silence of the moment.
Louis rose slowly and, still holding my hand in his, turned to face the audience.
He was met with loud cheers and deafening applause as he mouthed the two magic words:
Louis    "I do."
Louis's eyes widened in surprise by the enthusiastic reaction.
(Look how they've embraced him.
(He's won the approval of them all.)
Tina    "Louis."
I was more proud of him than I could ever put into words, so I simply squeezed his hand tightly.
Louis stood by my side, beaming at the crowd before us.

====================

A few days after the announcement ceremony, Louis and I returned to Howard Manor.
(This must be difficult for him.
(I don't get the sense that he has a lot of happy memories here.)
I remembered his expression when he announced we'd be returning.
Tina    "To your manor?"
Louis's face responded, his face stiff with tension.
Louis    "I'm to become prince consort, and I am the only living member of the Howard family.
Louis    "Therefore, my duchy will be ruled directly by the crown—that is, you and I, once you become queen."
Tina    "So you'll continue to be responsible for your duchy? Nothing has changed?"
Louis    "In a way, no. This will probably be the last time I return to the manor.
Louis    "I'd like to say my farewells."
(Louis looks so conflicted.)
Suddenly worried, I stole a quick glance at Louis's profile.
Louis    "Let's go inside."
After another long moment of gazing upon his manor in silence, Louis took my hand and stepped forward.
Attendant    "Your Grace! Ah, forgive me—Your Royal Highness, I should say!"
Louis's attendants had prepared a stiffly formal greeting for us.
Attendant    "We've been expecting you."
Louis    "'Your Grace' is still fine for now. I'm not the prince consort just yet, after all."
Louis took a deep breath.
Louis    "As I wrote in my missive, the duchy will hereafter become the dominion of the crown.
Louis    "Though I'll no longer make my residence here, all of you are welcome to stay.
Louis    "It is my hope that we can continue to work together on the governance of the duchy."
Attendant    "It would be our great pleasure, Your Grace."
The attendants lowered their heads in a formal bow, as they had on our last trip here.
But seeing them do it this time made me feel strangely sad.
(Don't they even care that Louis is getting married, let alone about to become prince of Wysteria?
(Not a single word of congratulations for him?)
As I pondered this, Louis resumed speaking, his voice now a soft whisper.
Louis    "You've all been a great help to me and to this estate."
Attendant    "........."
Louis's businesslike demeanor had suddenly softened.
But his attendants merely stared in silence.
(Louis?)

=====================

Louis    "I endured some difficult times here."
Louis looked down at his feet before raising his gaze back to his attendants.
Louis    "Nevertheless, it meant a great deal to me that you valued me—
Louis    "Even if it was only as your duke.
Louis    "For that, I thank you."
A gentle smile spread across Louis's lips.
(That can't have been easy for him.)
Attendant    "Your Grace—"
One of Louis's attendants looked as though he was about to say something, but then closed his mouth and bowed his head.
Louis and his staff discussed a number of matters relating to the governance of the duchy.
When the conversation was done, he headed right back through the manor gates.
Tina    "Are you sure you're ready to go?"
Our trip had been an incredibly short one.
Louis    "I am. Thank you for joining me."
Tina    "I didn't do anything."
Louis    "If you hadn't been here with me—"
Louis smiled faintly as he looked down at his feet.
Louis    "I never would have been able to say what I did.
Louis    "In fact, I never could have faced this place at all.
Louis    "Your love gave me the strength I needed."
Louis stopped walking and looked back to the manor.
I could see his faith in a brighter future for himself sparkling in his eyes.
Tina    "I'm glad."
(Louis has always been such a pillar of support for me. I had no idea he felt the same about me, too.)
My mood suddenly brightened, I joined Louis in gazing upon the manor.
Louis    "Since we've come all this way, we might as well return via town."
Tina    "Via town?"
Louis    "Even though the announcement ceremony is out of the way, things are still busy at the palace.
Louis    "We should visit the people from your former life that are important to you, as well, while we have the chance."
We spotted the children as soon as we arrived at the plaza.
Child 1    "Miss Tina!"
Child 2    "Your Highness!"
I smiled at the eagerly waving children. They'd grown a bit since I'd seen them last, but it was good to see their faces again.
One of the children broke from the group to run up and greet us.
(That's her!)
The child to whom I'd given the flower bookmark came running up to me, waving something in her hand—

===================

My former student reached out to hand me something.
Child    "You can have this, Miss Tina."
Tina    "Is that what I think it is?"
The child handed me the pressed-flower bookmark.
(Louis gave this to me on my first day as princess elect.)
Tina    "May I give that to my student?"
Louis    "Do with it as you will."
I remembered how cold Louis had been to me then.
My former student flashed me a big smile.
Child    "My mom's all better now!"
Tina    "Really? That's wonderful!"
Child    "Yeah! I bet it was the flower that did it.
Child    "Now that my wish has come true, you can have it back!
Child    "You can use it to make your own wish come true!"
Tina    "That's very kind of you."
My student's smile was infectious. I accepted the flower with a grin of my own.
Tina    "Thank you."
She gave me a big wave and ran back to play with her friends.
Louis    "Did she give you something?"
Louis had been a few paces behind me, and had missed our conversation. I showed him the flower.
Tina    "She gave me this."
Louis    "Oh."
Louis blinked in surprise at the sight of the familiar bookmark.
Tina    "She said her wish came true."
Louis    "I'm happy to hear that."
A gentle smile spread across Louis's face.
(Oh, that's right.
(Louis had held onto this flower since he was in the orphanage.
(I wonder what he'd wished for?)
Tina    "Hey, Louis—what did you wish for when this was yours?"
I asked Louis softly, letting my curiosity get the best of me.
Louis    "What did I wish for?"
Louis locked eyes with me, and considered the question in silence for a moment.
Then he suddenly laughed.
Louis    "It's already come true, so I can't tell you!"
Tina    "You can't?"
Smiling, Louis shook his head.
Louis    "You hold onto that, Tina."
Tina    "I will."
I clutched the bookmark to my chest as we made our way back to the palace.
We arrived at the palace just as the last of the sun's rays disappeared beyond the horizon.
Bright moonlight illuminated the cloister.
As I looked towards the palace courtyard, I was struck by a powerful wave of nostalgia.
(This is where Louis and I first met.)
Louis    "Are you truly foolish enough to believe in a fairy tale?"
The memory of the cold, detached Louis that once was appeared for but a moment.
Louis    "This is where we first met."
Louis gazed out into the garden.
Tina    "I was just thinking the same thing."
Louis    "You were covered in dirt, searching for that flower."
Louis chuckled at the memory.
Louis    "Shall we resume your search?"
Tina    "What?"
Louis looked up in surprise as he said it, as if the idea had just struck him out of nowhere.
Louis    "If we work together, we just might find it!"

===================

Louis led the way into the palace courtyard.
Following his lead, I knelt down at a bed of flowers. The smell of fresh earth filled the air.
(This does take me back.)
Before I knew it, I was covered in dirt, happily searching for the mythical white flower.
Louis    "When I first saw you here in the garden,
Louis    "I was convinced that you were someone who didn't belong in the palace."
Louis spoke softly as he sifted through the bushes.
Tina    "I couldn't figure out what you were thinking back then."
Louis    "That's because, at first, I was determined to drive you away."
Louis laughed at the memory, and I quickly joined in.
Tina    "That was clear from the start."
(And then the man who drove me away became the man I couldn't live without.
(I don't know what I'd do without Louis.
(Would I have ever been able to laugh like this without him?)
Tina    "Louis?"
I called out softly as I scoured the flowerbed.
Louis    "Yes?"
Tina    "Thank you."
Louis    "For what?"
I could tell Louis had stopped his search to look at me.
Tina    "I just felt like saying that."
Smiling, I pushed aside a patch of overgrown grass.
Tina    "Oh!"
I gasped, stunned.
(It's the white flower!)
The white flower was in full bloom, hidden behind a patch of taller grass.
(Could it be?)
I knelt down to get a closer look, not bothering to protect my dress from the dirt.
But just as I was about to touch the flower, I stopped myself.
Louis    "Did you find something, Tina?"
Louis's voice called out from behind me.
(I don't even need this anymore.)
Tina    "It's nothing."
I withdrew my hand and let the grass spring back over the flower.
I stood up and patted the dirt off my dress as best I could.
Tina    "Maybe it really is just a myth."
Louis    "Are you disappointed?"
Tina    "No. After all, I still have the bookmark you gave me."
I shook my head, then looked up at Louis and smiled.
Tina    "And besides, I'd rather we make our own wishes come true together."
Louis    "Me too."
 
Louis wrapped his arms around my waist, and I nestled my head against his warm chest.
I could feel his heart beat.
Tina    "I wonder how many dreams we can make true."
Louis    "As many as you like, Princess Tina."
Tina    "Spoken like a prince."
Louis    "Because I am your prince."
Louis lifted my head, leaning in to give me a soft, loving kiss.
Louis    "I love you, Tina."
Tina    "I love you too, Louis."
Our lips met again for another indelible kiss.
 
I had a feeling we wouldn't be needing any mythical flowers to make all of our wishes come true.
(As long as we're together, that should be enough.)
I closed my eyes, pulling Louis closer.
The flower petals danced in the evening breeze as if they were casting their blessings upon us.

(新CG)

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=====================

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Louis Howard Secret - Epilogue

Epilogue 【Louis    Epilogue    1/5】
Had someone told Louis it was the mythical white flower from the children's storybook?
Or had he just made it up himself? He honestly no longer remembered.
Louis    "You hold onto that, Tina."
He'd been wishing on that white flower bookmark since he was a child.
But it didn't matter whether it was real or not anymore.
Because he would be the one to make Tina's wishes come true.
That was the vow Louis made to himself as he told her to keep it.
Tina    "I'd rather we make our own wishes come true together."
That's how Tina responded, a wide smile across her face.
(I wonder what Tina's wish is?)
...
......
Tina    "You want to know what my wish is?"
Louis    "I do."
Several days had passed since Tina and Louis visited his duchy.
He rushed through his duties today in order to take a walk with Tina in the courtyard.
He was couldn't wait to hear her answer.
Tina    "Hmm..."
Tina considered it for a moment.
Tina    "As long as we're together, that's enough for me."
She flashed Louis a shy smile.
(My dear Tina.
(You always say such perfect things. How can I come up with a response to that?)
Louis    "Tina—"
Flustered, Louis stepped forward and pulled Tina in a tight embrace.
Tina    "What was that for, Louis?"
Louis    "........."
(How am I to respond to that?
(I hate that I never know what to say around her.
(She makes me so happy, and I adore her so much. And if I can't put that into words—)
At a loss for words, Louis leaned forward and kissed Tina.
Tina    "Mmm..."
Tina's eyes slowly closed as Louis's lips lightly pressed against hers.
Louis slowly grazing his fingers down and across Tina's neck to her collarbones.
(She's so beautiful.)
Tilting his head to the side, Louis deepened the kiss, tracing his tongue across her bottom lip.
Tina    "!"
Tina stiffened in Louis's arms as an unfamiliar voice sounded in the distance.
Tina    "Someone's coming!"
As Tina wriggled from his embrace, all Louis could think about was how badly he wanted to tease her.
(Why is it that the more troubled she looks,
(the more trouble I want to get her into?)
A smile spread across Louis's lips.
Louis    "I thought you only wished to be together with me?"
Tina    "What?"
Louis    "I've vowed to make your wishes come true."
Tina    "I, that's—not right now!"
"I'm afraid I can't let you leave my side."
"H-Hey!"
Her eyes widened in surprise as—
Louis pushed her onto the ground between two tall patches of pink and white flowers.

====================
Cradling Tina in his arms, Louis pulled her down onto the soft grass between two patches of flowers.
Tina    "L-Louis!"
Tina hissed at Louis, her face panic-stricken.
(She's so adorable!)
Louis pressed his lips against hers to keep her from raising her voice any further.
Tina    "We...can't...mmphh...do... this...mmm...here!"
Pulling away, Louis leaned forward to whisper a low "Shhh," in her ear.
She fell silent as her cheeks turned a pale pink.
The sound of two sets of feet making their way through the grass grew nearer and nearer.
From the passerby's conversation, Louis could tell they were the palace groundskeepers.
Louis    "If they were to find the princess and her prince consort lying together in a place like this—
Louis    "I don't think we'd ever hear the end of it."
He laughed softly, while Tina's face grew redder still.
Tina    "I'd be in as much trouble as you? How is that fair?"
She whispered back with a laugh.
Unable to find the words to express himself, Louis cradled Tina's head in for a kiss when—
Groundskeeper 1    "Hey, did you water over here?"
Groundskeeper 2    "Don't think I made it there yet. Could you give me a hand?"
Groundskeeper 1    "Sure."
Louis    "Uh-oh."
Tina    "What?!"
No sooner had they spoken than
Louis and Tina were soaked head to toe by the groundskeeper's water.
(Oops.)
Beneath him, Tina squeezed her eyes shut tight.
Groundskeeper 2    "Oh, you know what? I did do that area this morning. Sorry 'bout that."
Groundskeeper 1    "Ah."
After that brief exchange, the gardeners' footsteps faded into the distance.
Rivulets of water dripped from Louis's hair.
Tina    "I'm cold."
Tina opened her eyes, a stunned look on her face.
Louis    "Water can be pretty cold."
Still in a state of shock himself, all he could manage was to state the obvious.
Tina    "Oh, Louis. There's a rainbow above you."
Tina whispered, still in somewhat of a daze.
(At a time like this?)
Louis couldn't help but burst out laughing.
Tina    "Louis?"
Louis    "I'm sorry—you're just so cute when you're wet."
Tina's eyes widened in surprise.
Tina    "I've never seen you laugh like that before."
Louis    "You haven't?"
Louis was sure she was right. He hadn't laughed like that in years.
(You'd think she'd be angrier. It's all my fault she got soaked like this.
(She's just too cute.)
Louis burst into laughter again.
Louis    "I'm sorry. You must be freezing."
Louis stroked Tina's wet hair.
The water droplets upon it were sparkling in the sun, somehow making her even more beautiful than she already was.
(You know—)
Louis    "I don't think I've ever been this happy before in my whole life."
(I've finally found the words to express this feeling.)
Tina    "Oh, Louis—"

======================

Louis    "I don't think I've ever been this happy in my entire life."
Tina    "Oh, Louis—"
Tina's cheeks turned rose red as he spoke.
Tina    "You can be pretty cute sometimes, Louis."
Louis    "What did you say?"
Her words were a soft whisper, almost too quiet to catch.
Tina    "Nothing."
Her face red and her hair and clothes wet, Tina pulled herself to her knees.
She laughed as Louis attempted to wipe some of the moisture from her hair.
Tina    "I just realized—this is where we danced the night of King Byron's visit."
(She's right—)
Louis thought back to that night as they sat side by side in the grass.
Tina    "We'll be dancing as princess and future prince consort at tonight's ball."
They had been invited as the guests of honor at a ball held in town.
Louis    "How many times will this make it, that we've danced together?"
(Looking back, we'd shared a great many dances from the time we first met.)
Tina    "The first time we danced together,
Tina    "I still didn't really understand you at all."
Louis    "I remember."
(That was when I had still been projecting my past on Tina.)
Tina    "The next dance was at Archduke Durey's manor. You made that one easy for me."
Louis    "I did?"
Tina    "Yes. You smiled and said, 'Just like our lesson.'
Tina    "That gave me the confidence I needed. Though I did end up screwing up afterwards."
Tina chuckled at the memory of that day at the manor.
Louis remembered the resolve he had seen in her tear-streaked eyes.
(I knew when I saw the look in her eyes
(I wanted to be there by Tina's side to support her.)
Tina    "The next time, we danced right here."
A faint blush spread across her face.
(That was the time
(I first told you—)
Louis    "I love you."
(How I really felt.)
Louis remembered the moment vividly, as if it were yesterday.
Tina    "Louis?"
Louis    "Wha—"
Louis had intended to ask her, "what is it?" but she took the words out of his mouth with a tender kiss.
Louis    "Mmm."
Louis, his eyes open in surprise, gazed at Tina's fluttering eyelashes as the slow kiss continued.
(That was nice.)
Tina slowly pulled away, a shy smile across her face.
Tina    "Can I make one more wish?"

===================

Tina    "Can I make one more wish?"
Louis    "Of course."
Louis nodded, taken in by the pure love radiating from Tina's eyes.
Tina    "I want you to tell me that you love me often.
Tina    "I promise I'll say it more, too."
Louis    "Hmmm..."
Louis's heart skipped a beat
(She didn't even need to ask.)
Louis    "I love you, Tina."
Tina    "Louis—"
Louis    "I love you. I love you so much."
Wrapping Tina in his arms, he showered her in kisses, repeating those three little words over and over.
Tina giggled in delight.
Louis    "I love you."
Tina    "I love you too.
Tina    "I love you most."
(My dear Tina.)
With each following kiss, every "I love you," Louis's desire for Tina grew stronger and stronger.
Tina    "I love you, Louis."
The afternoon sun beamed down on the two.
Louis began to feel guilty about forcing Tina to share such an intimate moment in such a public space.
Louis    "Tina?"
Tina    "Yes?"
Louis    "I want to do things we can't do out here."
Tina    "Oh..."
(Sometimes words are not enough.)
Tina nodded, her bright eyes glistening in the sun.
As they entered the palace, Tina tugged at Louis's sleeve.
Tina    "Uh, Louis?"
Louis    "What is it?"
Tina    "You got me all wet and muddy. I need a bath."
Louis    "Of course.
Louis    "Care for some company?"
Tina    "What?!"
Though he only meant it as a joke, the look on Tina face suggested she hadn't taken it that way.
(I've shocked her to silence.
(She's so cute when she's like this.)
Tina stood there, her fingers still clutching Louis's sleeve, paralyzed by his suggestion.
He tried to laugh it off as a joke, but—
Tina    "You can join me if you want."
She replied, looking away shyly.
Louis    "I'd love it."
Louis took Tina's hand in his, leading her forward almost as if he were in a trance.
Tina    "L-Louis, slow down."
He led her into a shadow of the great staircase in the entrance hall.
Louis    "I've held out for as long as I can."
Louis ran a hand through her wet, tangled hair.
Tina moaned as Louis hungrily began to kiss the moisture off her neck.
Tina    "Lou—"
Louis    "I need you."
Droplets of water fell from Tina's hair to his cheek as Louis lightly ran his tongue across her collarbone.
Tina    "Louis, take me to the bath, or at least to my chamber!"
Louis    "And if I don't?"
Tina frowned as Louis pulled her hips into his.
Tina    "Then you're dismissed!
Tina    "You heard me."
(I'm "dismissed?")
Louis paused, taken aback by Tina's cool response.
Tina removed Louis's hands from her waist, taking a step back.
Tina    "You are dismissed, Louis."
He couldn't help but laugh at the stern look upon her face.
Louis    "As you wish, Your Royal Highness."
Smiling, Louis gave Tina's hand an apologetic squeeze.
==================

Later that night—
Louis stood alone at the landing of the grand staircase.
He stared at the line of carriages waiting to take them to the ball.
(Tina tripped over her high heels on these very stairs.)
He remembered that night, when he caught her as she fell.
Louis    "What is Her Royal Highness doing here at such an hour?"
(If Tina hadn't tried to leave the palace at just that very moment,
(I'd never have been able to give her the bookmark. I might not have even been in charge of her dance lessons.
(And yet—)
Tina    "Louis!"
Tina called out from the top of the stairs.
Louis turned and looked up at her. Her stunning gown wasn't half as beautiful as the smile upon her face.
(I still would have fallen in love with you, no matter what.)
Louis    "Tina."
Tina, looking slightly shy, began charging down the stairs.
Louis    "Don't run, Tina, or you'll—"
Tina    "Ah!"
Louis    "!"
Tina slipped on one of the lower steps and tumbled towards Louis.
He opened his arms wide to grab her.
Louis    "—fall again."
Tina    "Oops."
As he held her tight, Tina looked down in embarrassment.
(Just a few princess lessons short, as always.)
Louis couldn't help but crack a smile.
Her natural authenticity is exactly what attracted him to her in the first place.
He picked up the shoe that had fallen off during her descent, and knelt before her.
Tina    "I can put my shoe on myself, Louis."
Louis    "It's a prince's duty to help his princess with her shoes."
Tina    "Is that so?"
With a shy giggle, Tina extended her foot to Louis.
He slipped the shoe onto her foot.
Tina    "Louis."
Louis    "Yes?"
Tina    "I love you."
Louis    "I know."
Louis stood up and offered Tina his hand.
Louis    "I love you too."
(You're everything to me.
(The spell you cast on me will never wear off, no matter what life brings.
(And I will love you forever.)
Smiling at each other, they descended the final steps together.
Tina    "I'm really looking forward to our dance."
Louis    "Me too."
Hand in hand, they stepped outside to their carriage.
A gentle breeze stroked their cheeks, just as it had on that night long ago.
Congratulations, you've completed the Secret Ending!

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接下來要玩誰呢?Byron 好了....但不太想存劇情~~好累~
休息一陣子好了.....

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