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36 Change of Plans

 "KIHO, you really fought giant sea monsters just to get me a pearl ring?" Tilly asked the captain while they were taking a rest at her room.

They just finished talking to the reporter interviewed them for her engagement ring. Apparently, she was the first noblewoman in the empire who received a pearl ring instead of a diamond one. Moreover, the pearl came from the nest of sea monsters.

Yep, the reporter already heard the story from a "very reliable source."

"Yes," Kiho said with a scowl, then he sipped his coffee.

After living with him under the same roof for the past week, she found out that Kiho preferred coffee over tea when she discovered his stash of coffee beans.

She didn't notice that in her past life despite being married to him for many years. After all, she loved tea and would always ask the maids to make one for them. She just assumed that Kiho liked tea as well because he never complained.

But this time, she wanted him to have more freedom around her. And she liked coffee as well. So she asked the servants to make coffee for them after the reporter left.

"It's not a big deal though," Kiho continued when he put the cup down on the table. "Pillas asked for the empire's help to get rid of the sea monsters that managed to destroy the barrier that they made. And so, His Majesty sent me to deal with it."

"Uh-huh," she said, not entirely believing him.

[Knowing Kiho, he probably asked the emperor to send him to Pillas Islands to get the pearl that he wanted. And thus, His Majesty had to make an excuse for him to enter the island.]

But it seemed like the captain didn't want to make a big deal out of it so she just let it slide.

Plus, she noticed that he was in a sour mood the entire time they were being interviewed. His answers were polite but short, as if he didn't want to share anything more than what he was asked. The reporter felt that too so he focused on talking to her instead.

"Kiho, why are you in a bad mood?" Tilly asked curiously. "Were you just forced to do the interview a while ago?"

"No, Tilly," Kiho denied while shaking his head. "To be honest, His Majesty asked me to do the interview with you. According to the emperor, even though the rumor about you and Captain Denver were proven to be false, people wouldn't easily forget the scandal. So to make them forget it, we have to distract their attention from the negative news to a positive one." He let out a deep sigh while shaking his head. "But I didn't expect that His Majesty would tell the reporter how I got the pearl that was used to make your engagement ring. I didn't want the whole empire to know that."

"But you still shared the story to the reporter."

"Well, I also think that His Majesty is right," he admitted. "I want everyone to forget the false rumor between you and Captain Denver as soon as possible." He tilted his head at one side as if he was in deep thought. "Right. I shouldn't be acting this way since the emperor only did that to help us. I just hope that after this, people would stop assuming malicious things about our relationship."

"It won't be easy because people love gossips," she said. Then, a brilliant idea suddenly popped into her head. "Kiho, I also believe that His Majesty is right. We have to make them ~completely~ forget about the false rumor between me and Captain Denver. But this interview wouldn't be enough. Some naysayers may even think that we're only doing damage control. So to shut them up, I just thought of a grand plan."

"What is it?"

"I want to add something to our wedding, Kiho," she said. "But it will cost a fortune."

As per the empire's tradition, the groom should shoulder all the expenses needed for the wedding.

"Money won't be an issue, Tilly," he assured her. "Please don't worry about it."

She knew that money wouldn't be an issue to Kiho. After all, he had killed high-profile people from different parts of the continent for the emperor. Those assassination missions weren't easy so naturally, His Majesty would pay him a fortune every time he succeeded.

[And so far, Kiho never had a failed mission.]

But even though she knew about Kiho's vast wealth, she still felt bad. After experiencing a life in the modern world, she learned that men didn't need to pay for everything. But it was a hard to incorporate that in this world were traditions matter.

[Anyway...]

"I want the reception party to take place in Lunar Island," Tilly said. "After our wedding ceremony at the Eclis Church, we'll bring the guests to the island by a ship. My father owns a few ships so it won't be a problem."

The reception party in the empire was usually held in the newlywed's residence. That was also their initial plan. But after hearing what the emperor thought about their situation, she decided to make the reception party as grand as possible.

"Let's have the reception party by the beach," she continued. "During the party, we can exchange vows."

In this world, "exchange of vows" wasn't a part of the wedding ceremony.

The ceremony in Moonchester Empire was short and formal. The couple would face a priest in the altar. Then, the priest would recite their duties as man and wife, ask them to exchange rings, and finally, tell them to seal their promise with a kiss.

After that, the priest would announce that the couple was already married.

[Plain and simple.]

"Exchange of vows?" Kiho asked in confusion. "What kind of vows do we have to exchange? I haven't heard of it yet."

She was sure that different countries or kingdoms had different wedding ceremonies as well. Kiho travelled a lot but not to attend weddings. No wonder he had yet to encounter a wedding where an exchange of vows was required.

"Something like this..." Tilly started, then she held Kiho's hand and brought it to her lips. Then, without breaking eye contact, she placed a gentle kiss on his knuckles. "Captain Kiho, I swear that I will always be devoted and faithful to you for the rest of our lives."

Kiho's cheeks, as well as the tip of his ears, went red. "I-I see," he said. "Then, I'll prepare a vow for the reception party."

"I'm looking forward to it," she said playfully before she let go of his hand. "Ah, baby. Is it okay if I take care of the gifts that we'll give to the guests?"

Actually, giving wedding souvenirs wasn't common in this world. But she needed it for her next plan.

"I don't mind," the captain said. "You can do whatever you want, Tilly."

She smiled at that before explaining her plan. "I'd like to introduce my new jewelry collection on our wedding day by giving them as souvenirs to the guests."

She was done with the design and there were three weeks left before the wedding.

With the number of workers their jewelry stores had, she could probably make the jewelries in time. Of course, she would compensate the workers properly and she would make sure that they wouldn't be overworked just because her plans changed.

[I'll hire more people to make sure the jewelries will be done in three weeks.]

It would be possible thanks to the magical equipments in this world.

"Thank you, Kiho," Tilly said. Then, she kissed him on the cheek. "And thank you for getting me the finest pearl ring of all."

"You're welcome, Tilly," Kiho said. Then, he held her face and kissed her on the forehead. "I can't wait for our wedding night."

The emphasis on "night" made her giggle and blush.

[Captain Naughty!]

***

TILLY didn't want to visit Princess Nia but she had to.

First and foremost, Her Royal Highness was the owner of Lunar Island.

Second, the princess was in charge with the guest list so she had to report her change of plans. After all, it was Princess Nia's job to inform the guests of what to expect during the ceremony.

"Your idea is unique, Tilly. I approve of it," Princess Nia said kindly. She was talking to her comfortably and casually because there was only the two of them in the garden. As usual, they were having tea. Lahara and the maids were standing a few meters from them. Every time there weren't surrounded by other people, the princess would refer to her by her first name. "You may use Lunar Island as you wish. I'll also inform the guests about the change of venue."

Tilly bowed to the princess. "I apologize for the trouble, Your Royal Highness."

"It's nothing, really," the princess said with a smile. "So, what else should the guests know about? Do they have to bring a change of clothes or something?"

"Please inform the guests that the change of clothes and footwear will be prepared accordingly," she said. "All they have to do is show up in the island."

"Very well."

"Thank you, Your Royal Highness," Tilly said with a smile. "Once your wedding date has been decided, please allow me to help you in any way possible."

At the mention of her wedding with the emperor, Princess Nia's smile suddenly froze.

[Pfft. The princess really doesn't want to marry His Majesty."

"Of course," Princess Nia said when she gained back her composure. "I'd love to keep you by my side once I start preparing for my own wedding, Tilly."

Tilly just smiled and sipper her tea.

It was petty but she enjoyed teasing the "princess" without Her Royal Highness knowing that she was very aware of how she truly felt for the emperor.

[Princess Nia, I will make sure that you'll marry Emperor Aku in this lifetime.]

***

"LANI and Leni, listen carefully," Tilly said to the twins while they were in the carriage. The two maids were sitting across her, the serious look on their identical faces told her that they were listening intently. "Lend me your strength."

Actually, the twins had been doing that from the start.

Lani and Leni help would accompany her everyday wherever she needed to go for her wedding preparations. But today, she needed their help the most.

"My lady, we're always here to support you," Lani said.

"Just tell us what you need, Lady Prescott," Leni added. "We will be happy to serve you."

"This is the most important decision that I have to make so far," Tilly said seriously. "Help me decide what lingerie to wear on my wedding night."

And the twins blushed.

***

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