“Did you already talk with Al?”
Judging by my father’s tone, it was easy to interpret that the conversation didn’t go smoothly. Was Al really that madly in love with that woman…?
Euphie, who was sitting next to me, looked at father with a similar look of dismay. “Regarding Prince Algard, could you tell me how this situation came to be?” she mustered to ask.
“From what Algard told me, he said that the organized harassment surrounding Lady Cyan was spearheaded by Lady Euphilia.”
“He said that about me? For me to do such a thing…”
“Mhm. I don’t think you’re the type to ever do something like that either. I’ll look further into it myself, but I wonder if this whole situation is one misunderstanding stemming from Euphilia’s warning to Lady Cyan.
“What of the girls who harassed her?”
“We were unable to ascertain the identities of those who participated in the harassment. Of those that we know of, Lady Cyan did not describe the extent of the harassment she received from the ones identified. In fact, we have received reports from others describing varying degrees of harassment so it’s difficult for us to determine what is true.”
So, we still have nothing to go on. Everyone was saying that they were ordered by Euphie which is pretty damning.
I could tell Euphie wanted to say something but couldn’t. She gave me a pitiful look, hoping that I’d say the words she wanted to say. Message received. Something like that would be absolutely deplorable.
“Do we have proof it happened? The bullying that Lady Cyan suffered, I mean.”
“Mhm. We have proof of damaged items and evidence of people conspiring against Lady Cyan, although there were no firsthand witnesses. There were also witness reports of physical bullying, but we are not sure if it is credible. The academy is in such a desperate state that the rampant reports make it difficult to determine which is the truth.”
“I think it would benefit us if we could work with the academy, but interfering with the investigation too much may bite us back…”
The Royal Academy is sectioned off from most people. Thus, how it functions are greatly influenced by public affairs. It is difficult to interfere with their operations and yet they are so easily influenced by our affairs.
Personally, I think that education should be available regardless of status. Even if education was available to all, the influence of status will always linger. Still, I don’t think there’s anything wrong for a school to have students learn to speak up against the grain.
Was Euphie targeted because she was in the prestigious position as Algard’s fiancée? Or did Algard not like Euphie? Maybe they wanted to bring Euphie and the Magneta family down?
I don’t want to entertain the possibility, but it’d be annoying if the reason was all of the above. This is why rumors are so troublesome; it makes coming to the truth harder to ascertain. Ah… so annoying.
“There’s no point in attending your classes. Normally, I would suspend classes so we could thoroughly investigate but we have foreign students to attend to. I cannot cancel classes without a proper reason…”
“They come here to learn, only to get entangled in the affairs of this kingdom. It is utterly humiliating!”
“Jeez. Algard, you’ve really made a mess of things…”
This problem would be a lot easier if it weren’t for the foreign students. The Royal Academy accepts students from other countries. Should these students not be able to attend classes, uproar would no doubt occur regarding what canceled the classes. In this case, the canceled royal engagement.
This whole situation is migraine-inducing. Al, I’ll try not to be angry since you probably don’t know what you’ve caused but… what the hell were you thinking…?
“Come to think of it, I heard that there were other nobles who sided with Lady Cyan, could you tell me?
“… It’s painful to look back.”
“… That bad?”
“The son of the Knight Order’s commander, the son of the director of the Ministry of Magic, and son of the kingdom’s wealthiest merchant families…”
“What kind of stressful situation did they put you through? Are they insane?”
I’m well acquainted with the Knight Order’s commander. Honestly, I consider us close despite what a troublesome princess I can be—he’d pat me on the back for being a brave princess if I don’t do anything too excessive. I don’t see his son inheriting any of his good traits, though.
I don’t know much about the others—I’ve probably never encountered that merchant family before, so I don’t know anything about that kid. The Ministry of Magic? They are my enemy. They’re a bunch of people who put on a smile but deep down look down on all of us. Tch.
“… No, no wait. In the first place, why are all these powerful individuals involved with this slander? Isn’t that weird!?
“It is why we cannot leave the situation alone. However, we simply do not have enough information to resolve this problem.
“What happened to Lady Cyan?”
“She has chosen to isolate herself in her room. It seems since that ordeal she has felt sick and chose to not come out.”
It’s been a while since then, so I find this sickness to be peculiar, but that’s not the crux of the problem, right?
All of the families involved are people who are just as important to this country as the Magneta family, or maybe just a bit lower. Together, the country’s future was bright but with such an incident at hand, their influence could sway the other regions.
It isn’t common knowledge yet but once word gets out that Euphie is with me, naturally the incident at the academy will spread to the common folk. When that happens, the whole situation will be known.
“What do you think about this all, father?”
“If this was just another adulterous affair, I’d feel disappointed, but I don’t think that’s the case. There’s something…”
“What… do you mean?” Euphie muttered anxiously. Father and I looked at each other and sighed.
“I’ll be straightforward; it may be that Lady Cyan is a spy sent to bring down this kingdom.”
“It is possible that they intended to dispose of the Queen. Their goal would be to take control of the next-in-line to rule the kingdom and thus manipulate the politics behind the scenes.
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that… Though, I wonder what it is that they teach in Baron Cyan’s household.”
“I will have a talk with Baron Cyan in person soon. In any case, Anise and I believe that there is more to this case.”
It would have been nice if there was something we could go off on. Is it possible that Lady Cyan seduced the sons of the most powerful nobles without an underlying agenda? She’d have to be quite the woman to pull that off. If I were the queen, I wouldn’t let someone like her continue to live.
Still, even if it was out of the kindness of her heart, managing all of them would take a lot of effort. You’d have to carefully select the individuals and make sure that you can monitor them. If you think about all the resources that would have to go into surveillance, it’d just be easier to kill them off.
There’s still one more thing I wanted to tell Euphie.
“In all likelihood, it feels like this isn’t something within Euphie’s skillsets. Furthermore, if Lady Cyan were to spy on behalf of someone, she’s still just a student attending classes just like Euphie. They should just be learning the fundamentals, not at the point where they can be using what they learned practically.”
“From here on, it’ll be up to the adults. It’s the parents’ duty to take responsibility for their children’s actions. And so, Anise, I will be announcing your claim to the throne in an upcoming banquet. I know you would rather it not go public—I would rather it not as well—however, the situation is no longer under our control.”
“… I get it. In the worst-case scenarios, it’s important to act immediately before its true intentions are laid bare, father.”
Up until now, Algard was the only one considered to inherit the throne… I was hoping it’d stay that way but now that this incident happened, I’m forced back to reassert my claim.
No matter how much power Algard has as the crown prince, if he misuses it people will demand someone else to succeed than him. And that kid did just that.
This got depressing. The royal ties that bind us always felt cold-hearted to me. I didn’t want to feel this coldness in my heart anymore.
“It’d be nice if a new testimony would surface and put an end to all this.”
“You got that right…”
There was painful sadness in father’s voice as he let out a long, tired sigh. It showed what a world-weary man he was.
＊ ＊ ＊
After father began working on the arrangements, I tried to return to my usual research as I had no interest in inheriting the throne. I did wonder if I should have worked on my appeal.
I forgot there’d be a party—and when there was a party there was dancing. There are certain etiquettes required, too. I avoided having my social debut, so I never bothered to learn the dancing and mannerisms required in high society.
It quickly dawned on me what I’d have to do when Illya smugly announced that the banquet would be hosted soon, and that father assigned me to prepare myself.
“As there is not much time left until the banquet, your research time will be cut and replaced with etiquette and dancing lessons.”
“Furthermore, the King has decreed that you may not veto these lessons. My apologies.”
“You’re forcing me!? This is oppression! I have a right to freedom!”
“Please, resign yourself. Now, let’s begin with taking your measurements for your new dress.”
I don’t want a new dress! I don’t want one to be made! I’d rather just wear one of my older dresses! My body hasn’t changed much since then!
“It will be announced that you are reinstating your claim to the throne and so you must dress accordingly.”
“You just want to make a new dress! I know it, and I know you!”
“I do not get opportunities to dress you up except for situations like this. You are usually so selfish so why don’t you let me be selfish for once, princess?
Urk… phrasing it like that is unfair! Telling me not to be selfish but you’re the one trying to appeal to my conscience! I tried to ignore it, but it felt like I was stubbing my pinky toe.
Disobeying made my chest hurt. Just this once, I want to believe that nothing bad would happen if Al were to inherit the throne. But without father to guide him, I have zero confidence in him.
In the end, despite my reluctance, I had no choice but to go along with Illya’s request. I was told that my current mannerisms would be enough to get by, but she was given strict orders to improve them. I just wanted to go home.
Illya also asked me if there was a certain fabric or style I wanted for my dress. I didn’t have an interest, so I told her I’d leave it up to her but when she suggested a girly dress with tons of frills, I vehemently shook my head in refusal.
“If possible, keep it simple. Nothing too flashy or revealing, but also something that won’t make the royal family feel ashamed!
I’ve been told I have a baby face so I would also prefer not to look younger than my actual age!
The most tiring thing was the dance practice. I’ve been able to do most of what is asked of me but I’m horribly bad at dancing “The princess is just as bad at dancing as everyone else,” Illya would always say every single time I was forced to dance.
“… I don’t want to dance.”
Relearning etiquette was fine. Dancing? No. I don’t want to imagine dancing with someone. I don’t want to think about intimately touching them. I don’t like the idea of having to force a smile towards my dance partner…
Because my partner is always a man! Every time I think about it, I get the creeps just thinking about being close to them, holding hands, or staring into their eyes. Ugh, I hate it! I really hate it! I don’t want to attract any men!
“You hate it that much…?”
“I hate it!”
Euphie ended up being my partner for my dance lessons, as opposed to my usual male partner. She was a good partner considering she was had both excellent etiquette and dance skills. It seems that, when Illya asked her to help me with my dance lessons, Euphie was more than happy to oblige.
Compared to Illya, Euphie was a lot more lenient. However, regardless of who my mentor is…
I. Absolutely. Hate. Learning. To dance. For. Men.
“Why do you hate men so much…?
“…I’ll tell you why. One day.”
To be honest, I’m not sure why either. I could list a bunch of minor reasons, such as the expectations imposed on being a princess and inheriting the throne. I hated being ridiculed for my lack of magical talents, too. Could it be due to my previous life? We married for love there, but here nobility is expected to marry out of duty to your family…
I can hardly remember much of who I was in my previous life. I just know that I loved magic. If I could use magic, I could do anything. However, despite living in a technologically advanced civilization, I was just an ordinary person just going through life. I can remember the country of Japan and its social etiquette, but I can’t remember much of who I was.
Did I have a bad experience with a man before? I’ve told myself there’s no point understanding what I don’t remember but I can’t help but feel a bit frustrated not knowing.
Well, if I had to say what I thought to be the biggest reason why I hate males is that every male I’ve dealt with always looks down on me!
Oh dear, how could a princess of all people show up to a battlefield?
How cute, thank you for your efforts to learn magic despite not having the aptitude to!
Dearie me, if only you were more feminine, I would have protected you.
It really irritates me just thinking about all the things they would say. Because I’d be super happy if I could just be protected and study! It’s not my fault that I can’t use magic!
“Lady Anise, your furrowing your brow.”
“Please don’t give me such empty replies… Ah, let’s take a break.”
Euphie got mad at me. It can’t be helped, doing things I don’t like makes me apathetic.
I don’t want to get married. I wouldn’t hate holding hands—just touching would be okay. I don’t to be looked at as a woman, to be desired for being a woman. Being looked at with such a gaze is enough to make me feel disgusted. I keep wondering why I’m so bad at this but still nothing comes to mind.
I hate it. I hate it on such a deep, psychological level. As a woman, I’m a failure, I thought to myself.
“If only I was born a male.~”
“Do you want to be a male?”
“Nah, I’d hate it. But I can’t help but wonder if my life would have been different if I was born male.”
No point thinking about it. Not like it’d ever happen.
“If Lady Anise was a man, would you have been the one to be engaged to me?” Euphie giggled, teasing me… but I couldn’t help but entertain the thought. I don’t think it would have worked out, though. After all, Euphie and I are only like this because of Al.
And how would Euphie feel then? Would I still be with Euphie, who would have been training to become queen? I thought about it for a bit but instantly concluded: no.
“If I was a man, I don’t think I would have gotten along with you as much as you did with Al. We’re getting along now because we mesh well. Besides, there is no such thing as ‘what ifs’. You could dream of them, though.”
“So, in other words, it’s because Lady Anise is Lady Anise?”
I don’t understand what it means to ‘be yourself’. Lately, I’ve begun to think of myself as a separate entity.
I wonder if I’ll have to keep working on my dancing. It’s still not on the level expected of royalty. I’m so fed up with it. I guess it’s better than getting weird stares. But if I can’t do it, I won’t do it!
“Shall we continue with the lesson?”
“Well then, may I have this dance, my lady?”
“I should be the one saying that to you.”
I stood up before Euphie and extended my hand out to her. Euphie smiled and placed her hand over mine.
Although Euphie admitted not to be used to this kind of dance, we continued to practice. Another day, Illya helped refine my rusty etiquette. Eventually, Euphie was satisfied with my dancing.
We eventually received a letter from father inviting us to attend the banquet. It stated the date of the party and that I would be reasserting my right to the throne.
“Sigh… It’s finally set in stone. This sucks…”
“I believe we had a lesson regarding not to make such noises, princess.”
“Who cares! I don’t want to do this anymore! It’s not like you’ll stop me!”
“It is my job,” Illya stated in her usual nonchalant tone. Ugh, this really was infuriating. After all, Illya has humiliated me for so long! I won’t forgive her!
“Urgh… could you let it go just this once…?”
“I believe that would be impossible. I am sure they will order me to stop you eventually.”
“This world is so unreasonable—!!”
I just collapse over my desk, resigning myself to a future I didn’t want.
T/N: What a troublesome chapter this was. I ended up redoing the entire first part of the chapter as the flow was just so awkward. It took me a few days to get a draft that I was satisfied with. It took me around 5 days just for it! Dialogue may feel off but if you read the entire dialogue block it should make more sense who is talking. If not, sorry. Let me know which passages seem off and I'll try to fix it!
I have a discord server for Magirevo (and other possible series I may pick up). If you want regular updates on chapters (as I tend to delay releases...), consider joining it!
As always, thanks for reading.