The moonlit up the night sky. In the King’s castle, the banquet stirred with life as the nobility engaged in conversations with one another.
The banquet was hosted by none other than the King himself on the pretense of a certain important announcement. Those who attended the banquet were influential nobles who held significant positions in the kingdom.
“I hear there will be an important announcement tonight…”
“Is this about the rumor?”
“I heard Prince Algard and Lady Euphilia’s engagement was canceled…”
“So, we’ll be hearing the King’s word?”
“It makes sense for how large this banquet is…”
The attendees talked amongst each other, trying to figure out the reason for the banquet. A small commotion arose. All eyes were drawn by the person who entered the hall.
It was Euphilia. She was being escorted by her father, Duke Granz. The way she conducted herself was so alluring that it suggested that the rumor was nothing more than that.
“Miss Euphilia was invited to the banquet?”
“If that’s so, where is Prince Algard?”
“Could it be that the rumors…?”
One can only come to their own conclusions. To find the truth, one has to see it with their own eyes and so all eyes remained trained on Euphilia and accessing her situation.
A bell was suddenly rung to grab everyone’s attention. Once all eyes were on the butler who rang the bell, he curtsied a bow.
“His Majesty, the King, and Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne-Sophia has arrived.”
The door slowly opened. Just as announced, King Orfans made his entrance with Anne-Sophia in tow.
Those familiar with Anne-Sophia were surprised. Her expression maintained a natural calmness and her inherent beauty was successfully drawn out.
Her hair shined with a bright luster and her skin carefully washed and cared for. The dress she wore also had a sense of serenity, although not to the extent where she could not stand out in a sea of socialites.
She was the definition of a blooming flower. Everyone who knew what kind of person Anne-Sophia was stared, awestruck. The princess replied with a calm gaze through half-lidded eyes and a gentle smile.
King Orfans and Princess Anne-Sophia were led by a servant to take their place at the high seats. The King’s position was one where he could look upon all his subjects.
“My dear subjects who have gathered here today,” he announced solemnly. “Allow me a moment of your time. There are a series of announcements I must say.”
The hall went silent. Everyone remained still as to not make a sound and surrendered their utmost attention.
“Some of you may have heard the rumors from a few days ago. It was at a gathering in honor of our graduating students at the Royal Academy.”
Some people stiffened. It was clear to them that the King was about to address the canceled engagement.
“The party, which should have been an occasion of celebration, concluded with an unfortunate end. My son, Algard, announced that an annulment to his engagement to Lady Euphilia. We, of the Royal Family, were just as taken aback as you all as this has caused great unease among us.
Despite this regretful announcement, Orfans did not bow his head. The perceptive ones in the court notice that he was hiding something in his tightly contained expression. The anxiety was contagious enough for them to want to bow apologetically instead.
But that pain only lingered for a moment.
“I confess that I was approached prior to the annulment. However, I want to make clear that I never sanctioned the annulment between Algard and Euphilia, despite what you may hear the rumors. As for the rest of this announcement, I will leave it to… my daughter, Anne-Sophia. Explain it to them all.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. With your permission, please allow me to explain.”
“Mhm, as you will.”
With King Orfans’ admission, Anne-Sophia rose beside her father and bowed.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” Anne-Sophia began, calmly addressing the hall. “I, Anne-Sophia, have been granted the solemn duty to clarify the situation to you all regarding Algard canceling his engagement.”
The hall suddenly buzzed with life again. ~Is that really Anne-Sophia? She never showed up for social events and rarely performed her duties as a princess and her reputation as an eccentric who jumped at any opportunity to slay demons with questionable methods with an arsenal of strange inventions conflicted with the girl before them.
What could someone like that have to do with Euphilia’s engagement with Algard? That was the reason for all the puzzled looks placed upon Anne-Sophia.
“As some of you may know, I have been actively researching magicology. In the course of my studies, I happened upon an opportunity to deepen my knowledge of the subject with the help of Euphilia, who is proficient in magic. This had led me to collaborate with Euphilia in my research.”
The audience’s attention switched between Anne-Sophia, Orfans, and then Euphilia who was standing at a tier below their seats.
“However, as many of you know, Algard and I have kept our distance from one another. I had renounced my claim to the throne, allowing Algard to one day become King, with the intent to avoid any unnecessary conflicts. It is with this in mind that I must address you all…”
“In the process, Algard misunderstood the situation and thus his relationship with Euphilia degraded. To be clear, this is the result of a few factors that have occurred. I will not state this again as it will go against the wishes of those involved. Now then, continue as you were.”
Orfans turned to allow Anne-Sophia to take the rein.
“First, I formally announce the engagement between Algard and Euphilia to be officially annulled.”
The hall filled itself with the sounds of surprised “oohs” from the nobles. The engagement was officially disbanded and Euphilia, who was on the receiving end, hid her gaze by staring down.
“Second, it is upon my request that Euphilia is formally assigned as my assistant for my magicology studies. Furthermore, her contributions will count for her studies at the academy. Although she is technically still enrolled at the academy, consider the program as an early graduation.”
Euphilia’s involvement was a huge shock for most people.
Although many knew of Anne-Sophia’s practice, what went on during her research was, and still is, a mystery. It could be said that magicology was a study with only Anne-Sophia as its student.
Suddenly, Euphilia, a noble from one of the most influential families in the kingdom was announced to be appointed to be an assistant. The crowd couldn’t help but wonder if there was any other deeper meaning for it.
“Thirdly—you could call this the main point I want to address—from this day forth, I, Anne-Sophia von Palletia, will reinstate my claim to the throne. Henceforth, I will be the second in line to succeed the throne.”
The crowd grew louder than before. Everyone had a look of surprise upon hearing Anne-Sophia’s announcement.
“Euphilia, come here.”
“Pardon me, Your Majesty.”
Euphilia bowed then made her way to the upper seats upon King Orfans request. Orfans extended a hand to help Euphilia and the two bowed side by side.
“It’s unfortunate Algard’s engagement ended this way. However, as it was Euphilia, who had contributed greatly for the betterment of this kingdom, who had to endure being on the receiving end, I have decided that it is only right for me to restore Anne-Sophia’s right to the throne. It is still Algard who is first in line to succeed, he must re-evaluate his actions lest he concedes his throne to Anne-Sophia. It is with this in mind that I hope you all come to understand my judgment. This is also due in recompense to the Magneta family for the poor treatment they have they have received. Let this cement the royal family’s close relationship with the Magneta family.”
The hall once again erupted. Orfans only needed to raise a hand for the hall to fall silent.
“With these three announcements, I bid you all farewell. This banquet is to celebrate Anne-Sophia’s claim to the throne and for the future prosperity of the Palletia Kingdom. Drink and be merry!”
＊ ＊ ＊
Upon father’s closing statement, the banquet’s festivities began.
The nobles took turns greeting one another and I was no different. I was stuck dealing with our guests, putting on my best smile, and laughing as if I was enjoying myself.
There were people trying to get close to me, trying to figure out what I had done to have gotten my father’s approval to reclaim the throne. Some didn’t even bother to hide their hostility towards me.
I could feel my irritation gauge slowly filling up. Ugh, this is why I avoided attending social parties. I don’t to be flattered or receive snide comments, whatever you throw at me I’ll throw back at you. Everyone is just such a bother; I wish I could put them all together like bowling pins and…!
“Lady Anise. You’re scowling again,” Euphie scolded me with a whisper. Upon hearing her words, I tried to put on another smile.
Euphie had been at my side since the banquet began. There were various people coming up to talk to her. The conversation usually sounded something like: “I’m sorry to hear about your engagement but congratulations on your promotion,” or something like that. Did people really think working for me was a promotion?
I didn’t sense any sarcasm in their words, but I did phrase the scenario in a way that made it seem like being my assistant was the cause of the engagement being canceled.
~Ideally, I didn’t want to be separated from Euphie…~
Suddenly, the music playing changed. It was a song meant to be danced to. I couldn’t help but let out a depressed sigh. It’s finally here: the dreaded dance…
Please, don’t ask me to dance. Just let me stand to the side like a wallflower…
“Princess Anne-Sophia, may I have this dance?”
Tch, of course, someone would come… They probably wanted to dance with Euphie instead of me, but it’s bad manners not to ask me first.
Now then, who’s the poor sap who asked me to dance? With a fake smile smeared on my face, I turn to face them.
“It would be my pleasure, sir…” I lost the last few words. My mouth twitching as it tried to maintain a smile.
The man was tall and noticeably skinny, although not anorexic. He had silvery blue hair and a pair of cold, blue piercing eyes. You could say he’s handsome considering all the ladies around him kept swooning over him.
My skin crawled; I know this guy. Why was the Ministry of Magic’s elite asking me to dance?
“Ara, if it isn’t Earl Voltaire’s son. Thank you for the offer.”
“Call me Lang, Your Highness.”
“… as you wish, Sir Lang.”
My mortal enemy! I tried my best to maintain a smile, despite cursing internally.
Lang Voltaire. An elite, noble, and mage working for the Ministry of Magic. He is the first in line to become the head of the Voltaire family, a prestigious family known to excel in magic and produce excellent mages. Not only that, but he’s the same age as me.
As someone from a family of elite mages, they respect those who can use magic and look down on those who cannot. He’s such a pretentious snob. He even looked down on my research. I won’t forgive him…he is the one person I’ll never forgive…!
“Now then, allow me this one song.”
“It would be my pleasure.”
How dare you. If you were to invite me so formally, I’d have no choice but to accept.
I considered stomping my feet as hard as I could while we danced but I’d feel bad for Euphie who taught me how to dance. As usual, I tried to keep a smile on my face. I focused on my feet as we danced; it helped distract me from the feeling of having to hold his hands, even with gloves preventing me from feeling his raw touch.
“… I never expected you to reinstate your claim to the throne,” Lang whispered. I shot him a cold stare.
“I’m only second in line. There’s no way I will inherit the throne.”
“Are you so sure about that? I’ve heard about the situation with Prince Algard. I just cannot understand His Majesty’s thinking.
“Regardless, it is all according to His Majesty’s wishes.
“However, isn’t it a bit much to keep Miss Euphilia involved?”
… I knew it. Your true target was Euphie, isn’t it?
“With her engagement with Prince Algard canceled, would that mean I have a chance?”
“It’d be up to Euphie to decide.”
“Ah, what a pitiful thing. I hope she takes the opportunity to broaden her horizons. Her skills and talents are too good to be allowed to rot.”
“That is why I made sure to get her to work with me.”
“With magicology, right?”
… Oi, I see you trying to hide that snicker, you shitty ikemen*. Didn’t you say you didn’t like my ‘pseudo-magic’ back then?
“Her skills are a marvel to behold. It truly would be a shame to let her skills rot. Not like I need to tell you, the world’s most renowned magicology scholar, that.”
“You have my gratitude for being so considerate of Euphie. I also have high expectations for her, so please watch over us.”
“I also hope to acquaint myself with her.”
Who would let a shitty, pretentious elite like you anywhere near Euphie?!
Lang despises magicology and training. For him, magic was a miracle gifted to him by the world. As a noble who can use magic, he deemed his talents and himself as invaluable.
And that’s why he looked down on me, a royal who cannot use magic. Ever since I announced my research in magicology, he also began to see me as an enemy. He claimed that my technique, such as turning demon materials into ‘pseudo magic’ is blasphemous.
So, as you can see, my relationship with this guy is like water and oil. However, it seems that Euphie’s presence has changed our dynamic. Not only is Euphie an excellent mage, but she is also the daughter of one of the most influential men in the kingdom, Duke Magneta.
If his intention is to bear a mage prodigy, it only makes sense to pine after Euphie. In terms of social status, Lang is definitely out of his league but thanks to his reputation it’s possible that a relationship between him and Euphie would be recognized.
… and if Euphie accepted Lang’s proposal, I have no right to deny her. I’ve already taken her away one too many times. Considering at one point we would have become sisters; I felt this urge to protect her like she was my little sister. It’s an older sister’s job to do so!
“Well then, I must get going. I wish you both well in your future endeavors.”
“Thank you, Sir Lang.”
Even though I’d be wearing gloves, the thought of dancing with a man, hand in hand, terrified me.
I can’t do it. I can’t go on if I must keep dancing with men. I said a few words to one of the waiters and limped over to the balcony.
A cool breeze welcomed me as I stepped outside but it couldn’t wash away my feeling of dread. At least that went better than I expected. The last time we just argued in public when I announced my studies in magicology.
“… It’s not like I wanted to be like this. If I could use magic normally, I would…”
I wanted to use magic ever since I knew what it was. I don’t want to give up on this dream.
If I can’t use magic traditionally, then I just needed to find a new way. I was willing to break the concept of magic just so I can grasp this miracle. If I had magic, I’m sure I could make someone smile. I could make myself smile. I wanted this power that would make everyone happy.
But reality can be cruel. Sure, magic existed but there were many people who thought differently. There are only a few people in this world that understand me. That’s fine. For those people alone, I’ll continue down this path.
“… I wish I was doing more research…”
I didn’t want to be a ruler. I didn’t want to reinstate my claim for the throne. I didn’t want to dance and talk with someone who ridiculed my magecraft. These painful feelings kept festering in my chest…
“Everyone should just get knocked over like bowling pins…”
“Ah, Lady Anise. So, this is where you went.”
Suddenly hearing Euphie’s voice made my shoulders jerk. Euphie moved up and leaned against the wall of the balcony with me.
“Are you resting here?”
“I can’t do another song.”
“That man you were with… he was the son of Earl Voltaire of the Ministry of Magic, correct?”
“Yeah. He was someone who always hated me.”
“… Ah, I see.”
Then why did he ask you first? Euphie probably thought, curiously tilting her head to the side. I kept my mouth shut. There’s no way I’d tell her it was because he wanted an opportunity with Euphie.
“Shouldn’t you be dancing, Euphie?”
“… I’m ashamed to admit it after helping teach Lady Anise to dance.”
“It’s a bit… difficult for me to touch a man right now.”
I get it. Euphie was still traumatized by what happened with Al. Even though it’s been a while the wounds still haven’t healed. Dancing with another man was more painful than she had expected.
I saw Euphie’s hand weakly trembling then. I reached out for it and held hers in mine.
“Dance with me, Euphie!”
“Eh? You want me to dance… with you?”
“It’s unlikely people will watch us here, not like I’d care if they were. Besides, it’s not like you dislike dancing, right? It’d be a waste not to!”
“… a waste, huh?”
Euphie paused, staring blankly at me before a smile formed on her lips and gently squeezed my hand.
I registered it as mutual agreement and so I let Euphie lead the way. Our steps went along fine, despite having to perform the opposite of what she taught me. It was awkward and silly; our gaze met, and we laughed.
“It’s weird, isn’t it? Two women dancing together.”
“It’s fun though, and isn’t that all that matters?”
“Your father would be shocked if he saw you like this.”
“Let him! What’s the point of dancing if it’s not fun!”
The two of us continued to dance and led up to the twirl then the song finally ended. There was a brief repose before they’d switch over to the next song.
“That day, if Lady Anise never whisked me away… I sometimes think about what would have happened.”
“I’m sure I’d have been crushed, crying, and resentful over everything… that nothing mattered anymore.”
“When you said you’d make me happy… I was overjoyed. Thank you for giving me a chance after what a failure I’ve become, Lady Anise.”
“I look forward to working with you from here on..”
I look forward to working with you, too. Our hands rejoined in a handshake.
My magic’s purpose is to make people smile. My dream to make everyone smile felt like it was finally taking shape. As I grew up, I thought it was foolish to cling onto such childish dreams.
I can only reach as far as my hand can extend, but that’s precisely why I won’t let go of her hand. This must be the happiness I’ve been looking for.
When this lame party is over, let’s go research more about the unknown. Let’s see sights unseen. Let’s give shape to the shapeless. Together, we can do anything we want.
Because from now on, we’re free!
“I hope you’ll continue to stay with me, Euphie!”
T/N: And so ends Volume One: The Reincarnated Princess and the Duke's Daughter. You may have noticed some asterisks; there were two parts that I couldn't translate properly so I've left it as close to a presentable as possible but it might require a bit of explaining.
ikemen*: In case you didn't know, ikemen is an archetype of handsome, popular men. The closest counterpart would be a chad but I think it's too memey, lol.
The other instance I put an asterisk is where Anise responds with seemingly short, uninterested replies. In Japanese, Anise is replying with 'aizuchi'. While it is the equivalent of saying 'uh huh', 'sure', 'my b', in English, in Japanese it has a different connotation. When one interject with aizuchi, it means they are carefully listening to the speaker and reassuring them that they are following. In this case, Anise is seriously and carefully listening to Euphie. This, of course, is difficult to translate accurately.
Someone asked for my release schedule for this and... I honestly can't commit to a rigid schedule. I generally shoot for a weekly release but these month have been surprisingly busy. Anyways, here's my cheeky discord server plug. Thanks for reading!