The Sprought family was well known for their martial arts history—having produced generations of Knight Commanders for the Kingdom of Palletia.
The Sprought mansion laid within the castle walls where all the noble estates stood in rows.
This mansion, however, was more like a villa. Most aristocratic mansions are typically used when family members are summoned to court or for the students attending the royal academy.
Navre was currently under house arrest here in the Sprought villa. Coming along with me was Knight Commander Sprought who was reluctant of coming with me. You could say I was forcing him to allow me to intrude on his family.
I’m not too familiar with Navre. I only knew his face and name and the extent of our conversations was just greetings. I consider myself good friends with his father, but I don’t often come into contact with his son, Navre.
From my understanding, his relationship with Lady Ryeini prompted him to denounce Euphie. For now, let’s put aside our biases and try to get along for the sake of hearing out his story.
“Navre’s room is this way, Princess Anne-Sophia.”
“Thank you, Commander Sprought.” I thanked the Knight Commander with a smile, although he was still giving me an anxious look.
I knock on the door first. From inside, a somewhat angry voice replied. After confirming that he is inside, I smiled.
“Here I come! It's time for a neighborly visit!”
I kicked down the door as hard as I could to force open the door. The Knight Commander looked at me, stunned by my actions, but I didn’t care! It’s all about establishing the tone!
Navre also gave me a look of bewilderment. He reacted to the situation as if a robber was breaking into his room. Yes! That’s the kind of reaction I wanted to see! Now it really felt like a breaking and entering!
“Don’t make a move! I’m Anne-Sophia von Palletia!”
“Long time no see, Navre Sprought!”
“… Eh? Um, what…?”
Navre looked around as if looking for something to make sense of the situation. Behind me was still the Knight Commander, probably burying his head in his hands.
I closed the distance between me and Navre so that I could grip his hands and shook them up and down. It was then that Navre finally realized what was happening.
“Your… Your Highness!? E-eeeeh!?”
Heh, good reaction. He really is your son, Knight Commander!”
“What are you doing here!?”
“That’s a pretty odd way of greeting royalty!”
“What do you want with me!?”
“Could I get you to relax…?”
“I don’t understand…!”
Both the Knight Commander and Navre started holding their heads in their hands.
“Now then, let me deal with the young man myself. Thanks for showing me around! Adieu!”
I closed the door with the same force that threatened to break it earlier. Finally, it was just me and Navre now.
I understood that it can be difficult to talk about things while one’s father is around, hence why I intended to only have the Knight Commander show me around.
“It’s been a while, Navre!”
“Eh? Uh, yeah… It has been a while…?” Navre replied, still shocked by the events that led up to this moment.
Navre looked like the Knight Commander—dark green hair and pale honey-colored eyes. He was tall and slender but didn’t give a feeling of being weak. He looked like an ideal knight. He also had a face that any normal girl would want to chase after.
“I came by because I wanted to ask you a few questions. I was told you were under house arrest, so I had to force myself in…without giving you a heads up.”
“Princess Anne-Sophia, what do you want of me?” Once the initial shock wore off, Navre’s expression tightened. It was clear he was wary of me. I couldn’t blame him as we never talked enough to see if we’d get along.
“I’ll get straight to it. Why did you denounce Euphilia Magneta?”
I could see how ashamed Navre was. I guess this is just the natural response considering the whole situation was what caused his house arrest.
“Don’t get the wrong idea, I didn’t come here to blame you. You should know that I took Euphie in as my assistant so I’ll admit that I’m biased towards her side but that doesn’t mean I won’t hear you out first.”
“… and I’m supposed to just take your word for it?”
“How can you trust me if you don’t tell me anything!?”
“Are you seriously saying that!?” He retorted as if he couldn’t understand why I’d give him a chance. His response reminded me of when the Knight Commander was younger. They’re both stubborn.
“I know it’s unfair of me to talk to you so suddenly, but to be honest I don’t care if I’m interrupting you.”
“You don’t care, you say…”
“I don’t understand the dynamic with you all and your love affair—you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t affect others. But your actions are affecting someone: Euphie. That girl is mine. If there’s something that’s bothering her, I will help ease her burdens, and this whole situation she got herself wrapped up is troublesome. I just want to understand why. You know?
“Understand the why…”
“You don’t get it, do you? If you didn’t want anything to do with Euphie, then I will take care of her instead. Anyways, Euphie won’t be exposed to the public for a while and she won’t be reinstated to be Al’s fiancée either. For now, any attempts to be married is hopeless—her future was taken away from her. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
The shame in Navre’s expression became more apparent as he continued to listen. Sorry, but just let me rub salt into that wound a bit more.
I’m pissed about what this guy did and the whole situation resulting in my right to the throne being reinstated.
“I’ll be straightforward—it’s difficult to understand what’s going on in the academy looking from the outside. I want to know what you guys were thinking and what you all wanted to achieve. Your actions have caused a lot of headaches for the people running this kingdom. If you guys were thinking for a moment, you’d have realized how not to bother others. Yet, here we are, bothering me. So, since I’m now wrapped into it, I think it’s fair for me to ask about the truth, right?”
“From my understanding, you guys banded together and framed Euphie on behalf of Lady Ryeini Cyan in an attempt to conspire and overthrow the ruling government—"
“—Ryeini would never want that!” Navre intensely replied, quickly denying my theory. However, realizing who he was talking to, his expression awkwardly adjusted to compensate.
“Look, Navre. Consider me as just Anne-Sophia, the individual. You can say whatever is on your mind without regard to status or royalty, okay? I won’t have you pledge an oath or something like that. But if you want me to take this matter seriously—"
“Are you trying to get me to relax or are you threatening me!?”
“Now, now, settle down. Look, no matter what I do to you now won’t affect aristocratic society, but I won’t do anything that will cause any disrespect. I just want to hear the truth and, if possible, clear my suspicions about Lady Ryeini. I’m stumped on what to think of her.
“… are you suspicious of Ryeini?”
“At the very least, I think she’s the most suspicious one. As far as I know, Al isn’t that stupid, and neither are you. People make mistakes but don’t you think it’s suspicious if you both became stupid suddenly?”
Al may be unremarkable, but he’s not stupid. Bear in mind, he was the type of person to surround himself with brilliant people that far exceeded his own talents. I think that was his greatest strength.
That’s why I think father had high expectations for Al to utilize his connections with the people he met at the academy and for his relationship with Euphie to work out. Al may be unremarkable but he’s not incompetent. However, if you were to compare him against me, he has his own ups and downs. But if you ask me, judging us like that is annoying.
“I’ve only heard from Euphie’s point of view, but if it turns out that it really was her fault then it doesn’t change anything. To me, Euphie is an honest, hardworking, and good girl. It’d be foolish of her to try and return to noble society, so she isn’t opposed to being my assistant. However, considering that it was your group’s fault that my claim to the throne was reinstated, if I leave this matter unattended it’ll only annoy me even more. That’s why I want to make this perfectly clear.”
“… Then, why me?”
“You seemed the easiest to deal with. That’s all.”
“… You’re a very difficult person to understand.”
“I get that a lot.”
I don’t even want you to understand me. I muttered to myself silently.
“… Let us sit down and properly talk.”
“Oh, how kind of you to offer.”
“You should be more self-aware that you are a princess.”
“That self-awareness is long gone.”
Navre pulled out and offered a chair for me, which I assumed was meant for his guests. Once I took my seat, Navre took his seat across from me.
“… Honestly, it’s difficult for me to wrap my head around this situation so it’s hard for me to think straight.”
“I just thought you wanted me to open up my heart and talk with you. Do you want to see my breasts?”
“I don’t!! What are you saying suddenly!? You…are you some molester!?
“I don’t want to be touched, seen, or become an adult with a man!”
“Why are you scolding me!? You’re the one in the wrong…!!”
“Ah, well. That’s just me making a silly princess joke.”
“The princesses of the world would be very angry if they heard that.”
I sighed. Sorry, I’m suddenly reminded of a moment when the Knight Commander was young. He seemed like he had to do a lot of retorts*.
It’d be nice if we could be closer! I said to him, to which he replied with a rather austere expression, so I decided to stop that.
“Let me get to the point. It was your decision to denounce Euphie, am I correct?”
“… Yes. I had heard Ryeini was being treated harshly and after consulting with her and Prince Algard we decided to denounce her at the behest of Prince Algard.”
“What Al was hoping for, huh. I don’t want to associate myself with such a wicked woman! Or something like that? Besides the point, didn’t you get along with Euphie before?”
“… I don’t know the extent of Princess Anne-Sophia’s relationship with Lady Euphilia but from what I know of her, she was perfect. Because of that, she was a cold person that no one would approach.”
“Huh? Was Euphie really that cold?”
“From my perspective, yes.”
Navre flashed a glance towards me. He was probably trying to gauge what sort of reaction Euphie would make upon hearing her reputation. I guess it’s understandable. Euphie, who probably saw exhibiting unnecessary emotions as a hindrance as a soon-to-be-queen, would be interpreted as such.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to think like that. Everyone in this situation is still young—there is a reason behind Euphie’s cold exterior and not everyone would understand that. Through conversation, I want them to understand.
“Anyways, Al said he wanted to take the initiative when breaking off the engagement.”
“Well, I was just wondering if you guys were getting anything out of it.”
“Trying to get something out of it…? No! We just wanted to fix that mistake!”
“Ah, I don’t care about that. Don’t go preaching about what is wrong or just. You don’t have the right to argue when your reason for action was dependent on your personal emotions.”
Fixing one’s error and doing what you think is right. I think it’s good to do that… if it were as simple as a fairy tale. However, it’s not as simple when you involve politics.
If you could walk away from this with a solid victory, then I’ll swallow my words and accept it. However, in this situation, there were no winners or losers so Navre’s words were hollow.
“Let me rephrase that. Would you say that it was your intention for Euphie to admit and apologize for her unfair treatment to Lady Ryeini?”
“Am I wrong?”
“No! … Well, maybe that was our intention.”
“Ah, I see. So, you all were so caught up in your beliefs on Euphie’s character that you never stopped to ask her. Indeed, she is quite cold.”
Upon hearing my words, Navre looked at me with a troubled look. Don’t look at me like that. I just wanted to understand their thought process and how the situation came to be.
“Princess Anne-Sophia, are you Lady Euphilia’s ally…?”
“You could say I’m on your side*. However, whether Euphie was in the wrong is irrelevant. What matters is that both parties work together to make things right. It’s not a bad idea to try and fix a mistake but it also requires an open heart, I think. Euphie tried to hold in her emotions making it difficult for outsiders to sympathize.
“… Even still, do you side with Euphilia?”
“Don’t get me wrong, the reason why I’m defending Euphie is that Al vehemently disgraced her. If you guys had done your due diligence and talked it out, I would never have gotten involved. Ah… sorry about crashing into the venue….”
If it weren’t for that chance meeting, I’m not sure if I would have gone this far for Euphie. It’s possible I may have gone after her after hearing her talents being released into the wild… but thinking about that is unnecessary.
“Why didn’t you guys talk about it with Euphie? Was she so cold of a person that she refused to talk about it?”
“T-that… she wouldn’t have listened, I thought.”
“So, you decided that denouncing her was the right choice? Without warning her?”
Navre fell silent. I couldn’t help but release a sigh of disgust.
“Hey, Navre, just think about it. From my perspective, all you’ve done was set up Euphie and declare war against someone who just wanted to settle things.”
“Surely you’re overexaggerating!”
“It’s a war against a nobility’s reputation. If I suddenly decide to denounce you over one mistake, would you just shut up and take it?”
Navre turned pale as he covered his mouth and huddle over. He managed to mumble a “No” before he cast his head down.
I decided to wait for Navre to calm down a bit. For a while, Navre had been hanging his head, not saying a single word. Eventually, he mustered enough strength to look at me again.
“… Have you calmed down? Can we continue with our talks?”
“… Yes. But if I may ask you something first. Why are you going this far…?”
“I want to see this through. What happened? What was the problem? If you caused a problem, apologize. If you have to reprimand someone, talk to them, and discuss what they need to do. If you can just laugh it off, laugh it off. You can’t take back what you do, and you can’t pretend it never happened.”
“… I see.” Navre, who seemed to have matured slightly, nodded with his still-pale face.
“… It may be in bad taste of me to ask, but could I ask you something?”
“Are you in love with Lady Ryeini?”
“… I think she’s a sweet girl. She was fleeting and so I felt this urge to protect her. She’d praise me when I worked hard. When she noticed I was having a hard time, without saying a word she’d allow me to lean on her. If you were to say I was in love with her… yeah, I think I was.”
Hmm. Just from listening to that, I could understand how someone could make their way into Navre’s heart.
“I see. Well, it’s understandable that you’d feel troubled over the wellbeing of a low-ranking noble suddenly making it into high society. Especially if Lady Ryeini is as good of a person as you say she is. But that’s exactly what makes what you guys did worse.”
“Then what were we supposed to do…?”
“You should know the answer by now.”
“Ask someone who knows how to handle the situation. In Euphie’s case, it’d be Al as they are of equal status. You could have discussed it with Duke Magneta before denouncing them, probably. Even my father would have thought it over if there was a chance that Euphie was cruel, you know? Why did you guys decide to resolve this with brute force? I don’t understand, and that’s why I think you guys failed.”
Also, there’s something that’s bothering me about your story, Navre.
“The denouncement was Al’s idea, right?”
“In that case, was Lady Ryeini happy about it?”
“Was Lady Ryeini pleased with your actions? Did Lady Ryeini ask you to do that? From my understanding, the good person that you phrased Ryeini to be would not be happy to hear what you’ve done!”
Navre stopped moving as if he was frozen. His body suddenly trembled, as if the frozen spell had broken, and tried to reach out to grab my arms.
“… I…! I…*”
“… I genuinely thought I was doing it for her.”
“Then… what have I done…?”
I didn’t reply to Navre’s words. I only gave him the courtesy to cover my eyes to avert my gaze from his shame. I wasn’t privy to the situation as it happened so I can only gather information.
Maybe, at least from his perspective, it was the right to do at the time, and that it's possible that everything would have ended well. However, I just can’t understand how they were able to finesse themselves into thinking they were the good guys. What they did was stupid no matter how you look at it.
From a certain point of view, it can feel like there is only one choice. People like me are too meticulous and picky and so we overthink things; to seek the truth and devote ourselves to unraveling how things worked or transpired.
People are the products of their upbringing. They are taught what is precious to them—what they must do to protect what is precious. It’s different for each person. I can’t fault someone for having that drive.
However, once your actions come to light, that changes. That’s right, actions have consequences. It may take a while before it catches up to you, but it’s inevitable.
“… They say that lovesickness can be a weakness. You can’t undo your actions, but you were twisted by your love and I can sympathize with you. All I can say for you is, I’m sorry you had to go through that.”
“… Princess Anne-Sophia. Were we really in the wrong?”
“What you should be concerned with is the consequences of your actions moving forwards. The fever of lovesickness probably wore off after getting that rage out of your system, yeah? Being able to change your perspective is an important skill.”
“… You don’t pull your punches, Princess.”
“You’re just a spoiled brat; a nuisance to adults who needs help wiping his ass after getting into trouble.”
“… You really don’t pull punches.”
“I’m pissed! Who do you think is responsible for having my claim to the throne reinstated? It’s such a pain!”
Navre awkwardly hanged his shoulders and looked down. I wonder if my presence will just make things worse now. My intentions weren’t to push Navre off the edge so it’s time I tactically retreated for now.
“Last question. Lady Ryeini isn’t the kind of person to bring someone down, right?”
“… Yes. I truly believe so.”
“In that case, this is just one unfortunate misunderstanding. Or maybe everyone involved is equally stupid. Everyone makes mistakes and successes are often hard to come across. If it were easy, then doing the right thing wouldn’t be difficult to do.”
And with that, I pulled myself out of the chair and made prepared to make my exit. I got what I needed to know and there’s a lot for me to think about. Whatever Navre decided to do, I could only hope for the best. Nothing more, nothing less.
Navre, even with his face downcast, noticed me leaving.
“I need to know… what kind of person is Lady Euphilia?”
“She was a girl destined to be queen. She killed her heart so that she could support the future King and become a symbol of hope that could guide this kingdom. She wanted to give her all to this kingdom but couldn’t offer the same kindness to the people around her. A girl who knew that she was too kind and decided to kill that part of her.
“… I see. Thank you.”
“If I may say one more thing…” I added as I was walking away. “No matter how stupid and idiotic your actions were—and I mean stupid enough to get your ass beat over it—your parents will always have your back. If you believe in my words, I suggest you do something about that.”
I heard Navre say something didn’t quite catch it. I opened the door and meet eyes with the Knight Commander who was waiting awkwardly outside. He looked at me with an expression I can’t quite explain and bowed his head to me silently.
There wasn’t much left to say. I just left without saying another word.
T/N: A few things that might be missed/couldn't be accurately translated.
Retorts* Anise is referring to tsukkomi and boke. In this case, she is referring to how she set up Navre to be the straight man to her joke.
I’m on your side* The original text talks about how she is siding with Navre for the sake of conservation. She really is that petty about reinstating her claim to the throne.
I…* Navre refers to himself as ‘watashi’ which is usually used in formal situations. However, from this point he begins to refer to himself as ‘ore’ which is informal and masculine. The original text is “Watashi…! ore…” This is a pretty subtle way of depicting how Anise’s words are reaching him and not something superficial.
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