Completed ― Although I Am Supposed to Be the Villainess (Planned), I Just Want to Eat Confectionery – I Will Aim for a Peaceful Life with the Block Skill

Completed ― Although I Am Supposed to Be the Villainess (Planned), I Just Want to Eat Confectionery – I Will Aim for a Peaceful Life with the Block Skill

Chapter 1: My fiancé is brazenly cheating on me

A tall, blue-eyed young man with golden-brown hair is smiling at a young girl.

The girl has tied up her pale golden hair and hidden it under a gray headband, and is wearing a gray one-piece dress with an apron.

She is just one of the people hired to work at the Academy, which is only attended by the aristocracy.

However, the young man is a true aristocrat… and my fiancé.

I stopped in my tracks when I saw them from the high, white hallway of the Academy.

(How annoying…)

I grind my teeth inwardly.

It’s annoying enough that I saw my fiancé, Albert, flirting with a servant, but it’s even more annoying that they are in a place where they are likely to be seen by people at the Academy.

Didn’t they consider the possibility that I might see them? Or did they want to show me?

(No matter how much you don’t like me…)

I know for a fact that Albert doesn’t like my hair color, which can only be described as a dull, slightly gray-brown, and he doesn’t like my personality either because it’s dark.

I overheard him saying so.

I don’t like the color of my hair.

Many people doubt my birth because I don’t look like my real parents.

I have heard that my father is rumored to have picked me up from somewhere. Although I was born with a doctor present and it has been proved that I am the real child.

Because my father has not particularly argued with anyone, it seems that his credibility has increased even more.

…My father is so cold to me that I also doubt whether he is my real parent.

Such a father completely ignored my engagement, but decided to do so at the request of the other party.

That person was Albert…

I was about to get a blue vein on my forehead, but I tried not to change my expression. Because I was not the only one who witnessed this.

Even the young ladies who passed by nearby, and the noble daughters who didn’t think much of the unbecoming behavior of strolling in the garden with one side of the corridor open, stopped and looked.

One of the noble daughters said, as if to be heard by me.

“I can’t believe the Count’s daughter lost her fiancé to a servant from the Academy.”

“I guess she doesn’t have much charm.”

My lips tightened at the taunting.

That’s too vulgar to say. But I can’t respond to it. It’ll be a hassle.

“It looks like you don’t have the energy to get angry.”

“If you make a fuss with a servant, you’ll be considered quite a fool. There may be one or two mistresses, but if you protest, it’s like saying you’re narrow-minded.”

“How easy would it be for her house to eliminate a single servant? Do you know how many lords and ladies the Count has brought down?

“Last year it was the Marlborough family. On the surface it seemed like they went bankrupt on their own…there’s no proof.”

“But the ship conveniently sinks, the cargo is taken by bandits, a fire breaks out…it’s too convenient for the Elvasti family.”

My stomach is starting to hurt.

My house…no, I’m shunned by those around me, mostly because of my father.

―The devil-like Count family.

It is said that getting involved in business or borrowing money will surely lead to disaster.

That’s why no one will stand up for me, no one will say anything bad about me, no one will defend me. That’s why people laugh at me when I tell them I’m not his biological daughter.

Of course, my father did not protect me.

Even my fiance, Albert, has not helped me.

…The engagement with Albert was only proposed because his family needed money and my father wanted to create a business relationship with him.

Furthermore, my father does not say anything even if I am not on good terms with him, so he probably thinks it doesn’t matter if he just ignores it.

(I don’t blame you for watching this.)

I can’t end the engagement without my father’s nod. It just makes me frustrated.

There is nothing interesting in watching a partner’s rendezvous.

I tried to leave this place quickly.

But when I took a few steps, flowers were thrown in front of me. When I was distracted by the flowers, I tripped on something and fell on the spot.

Suddenly, there was a burst of laughter from around me.

“The Count’s daughter is so embarrassing…”

“That’s why she gets cheated on?”

After the voices of the men, I hear a woman’s mocking voice.

“Isn’t that why Albert-sama gave up on you so early?”

I turn around and see the young lady with platinum blond hair standing next to me as I get up and put my hands together.

Elena Augren, the Duke’s daughter.

I remember that after our engagement was decided, she gave me a very cold look when we greeted each other. I realize now that she must have had feelings for Albert for some time.

(If that’s the case, then your family should have supported Albert’s family.)

I stand up again, grumbling to myself, and decide to leave this place again.

After I get to a place where no one is, I run as far away as I can from this disgusting place.

I’ll go home from the Academy right now.

I borrow a carriage from the Academy and set off on my journey home.

Chapter 2: It’s a lot better at home

… Honestly, my home is not a place where I can relax from the bottom of my heart.

The brick house has a narrow garden that is just enough, and it is a typical noble’s house in the capital, although it gives a dark impression due to the abandoned vines.

However, inside, it feels quiet and gloomy.

Because my father hates being lively, the servants always work as if they are holding their breath.

That father does not worry about me as soon as I return from the Academy.

To my surprise, although I am definitely the daughter of Count Elvasti, I have never felt any parental affection from him.

Because my father was so cold, I once almost believed the rumor that I was a “foundling with no blood connection”.

My mother’s uncle, Oji-sama, tells me that I look exactly like my mother and my eyes are the same green as my father, so I now recognize it as a lie.

“Maybe because I was indifferent to my mother… I wonder if that’s the reason.”

The only thing I can think of is that I had a bad relationship with my mother, who died when I was very young.

Still, it’s much more relaxing than being in Academy, where everyone around you is an enemy.

When I enter my room, the servants who were cleaning rush out in a hurry.

They should have finished before I came back, but they must have been surprised when I came back early.

Ignoring that, other servants who had come ahead of me help me change clothes.

Feeling relieved in a loose room wear, a housekeeper and a middle-aged butler come.

“It’s a birthday present from Joachim-sama.”

“From Oji-sama… Thank you.”

I receive a silver box the size of both palms, offered by the butler.

Joachim-sama is my mother’s uncle. He’s a valuable person who cares about me, who has become a keepsake of my mother’s memory.

On the other hand, I think the present for tomorrow’s birthday is the only one. My father will probably be the same as usual. As I look at the butler with this in mind, the butler looks away.

“The master has decided not to have a party tomorrow.”

“I understand.”

As I nod, the housekeeper leaves the room with the butler in a hurry.

My father is cold to me, but the housekeeper, who has the role of conveying this, seems to feel embarrassed towards me.

After making arrangements for drinks, I also had the servants leave the room.

In the room where everyone has left, I sigh lightly.

“I never expected to be celebrated on my birthday. It’s more awkward when you look at me like that.”

Surely, the housekeeper and the butler are kind parents to their own children.

I have already given up on the fact that my father is not like that. Therefore, it is a relief when they behave as if it is natural.

…I do not like to be reminded that I was not born into a happy family even from such an attitude.

Taking a deep breath again, I gently open the silver box.

“…Well.”

Inside, there were hard, dahlia-shaped flowers. The five petals of the flower had a color that was almost indigo, and the center was black, as if shadowed. However, this gave the flower a beauty like the night sky and a texture like a gemstone.

But this is not a flower.

“Sacred flower confections…”

These are sweets made with something called sacred flowers. From their shine, it seems that they were mixed with candy and sacred flowers.

The mysterious plant called the sacred flower, when mixed with ingredients for sweets, tries to return to a form similar to the original flower.

The sacred flower is not an ordinary plant.

Some grow deep in the mountains and valleys, and some only appear during a full moon. They cannot be planted and grown, and it is unknown where they will grow.

Furthermore, because they serve as a medium for magic, high-quality ones are usually collected by the magician guild or bought by the temple.

Only those that are damaged or broken are sold as expensive ingredients for sweets, especially ones that the aristocracy likes and competes to buy.

Apparently, it is more common to give children sacred flower sweets to eat in order to bring out their magical talent, as sometimes children who eat them show magical ability.

However, all the sacred flowers I have seen so far have been bright colors such as red, yellow, and white, so I was even more surprised.

“I’m sure it’s because it’s an unpopular flower color that it was turned into a snack.”

But it’s beautiful.

I love this expensive sweet. The melting sweetness and the feeling that remains afterwards is very comfortable.

“Tomorrow, let’s secretly eat this flower and celebrate alone. But first, let’s taste just one…”

I picked off one of the petals and put it in my mouth…and then I fell asleep as if I lost consciousness.

Chapter 3: On the morning after a bad dream

I noticed that I was placed in an iron cage.

I was dressed in a grey tunic with a hemp collar. I don’t know what the situation is, but I was put in a cage and that cage was put on a rough carriage and headed down the road.

I know that it was a main street in the capital because I recognized the appearance of the buildings.

Many commoners were crowded along the road and looked at me with hateful or curious eyes.

…It’s like I’m the villain in a play.

…Did I try to kill the damsel in distress?

I, who was placed in a cage, was told that by the people gathered on the street.

(I haven’t done anything. I haven’t done anything like that!)

Even if I shout, no one tries to listen to my story.

…Oh, my God, the devilish woman is saying something.

…Disappear, villain!

Instead, they throw stones at me.

Stones that rain down like hail fall and hit me from the gaps in the cage.

It hurts, why do I have to go through this?!

No, blood is coming out. It hurts.

Help!

“Aaahhh!”

“Kyaa!”

The maid, who was making preparations without making a sound after waking up surprised by my sudden shout, called out.

My eyes met with those of the maid, who had auburn hair with freckles on her cheeks. She has been my chambermaid for several years and is supposed to be 17 this year. Her name was Katie, if I remember correctly.

As we stared at each other for a while, the maid suddenly prostrated herself on the spot.

“I-I’m sorry, My Lady! I made a disturbance!”

“N-No, it’s okay…”

It seems that she misunderstood that I woke up because of the noise she made.

I wanted to tell her in detail that it wasn’t her fault that I woke up, but that would just take more time and stop Katie from doing her work.

Then Katie’s breakfast would be delayed and the housekeeper would get angry at her for being late with her work.

…Katie has also been skipped for breakfast for similar reasons in the past.

Even if I try to plead with the housekeeper, she just says “as you wish, My Lady” and ignores me anyway.

I suppose she is dismissing me, who is ignored by my father.

In any case, I decided to just get through this situation as if nothing had happened. Katie curtsied again and began to prepare for the morning.

“My Lady, which outfit will you be wearing today?”

“Well… there was a dark wine-colored one, right? Could you get that for me?”

At my words, Katie’s expression became troubled.

It’s not unreasonable. A 16-year-old noble lady saying she wants to wear dark-colored clothes in the morning.

That dress was originally made to order so that I could wear something not too showy when visiting a house in mourning after a suitable amount of time had passed.

But this house doesn’t have any mourning right now.

Besides, it’s my birthday.

I know that, but after having such a terrible dream, I couldn’t bring myself to wear a bright-colored dress.

Katie brought out the dress I requested from the dressing room and helped me change.

In the meantime, I was thinking about the dream.

It was a very unpleasant dream.

Maybe I had the dream because I went through a terrible experience yesterday… I thought, and then remembered another potential factor.

——The sacred flower.

The sacred flower sweets that Joachim-oji-sama gave me.

It was supposed to show me a good dream… but it was an awful nightmare.

(Maybe because it was a dark colored flower?)

I have heard that black sacred flowers are used as intermediaries for dark magic. So it might have affected my dream too.

(But it’s a shame…)

I was tired yesterday, so I ate and went to sleep right away and accidentally dreamed. But I’m going to leave school earlier today, so I think it will be fine if I have a snack for lunch.

Even for the Count’s daughter, sacred flower sweets are not something that can be eaten carelessly.

It was the only birthday treat I received every year from Joachim-oji-sama. I can’t think of throwing it away.

Thinking about that, I had breakfast by myself and went to school at the Academy.

The Academy is a large building like a palace.

It was originally one of the king’s palaces.

There are three large halls where balls can be held.

The former palace was surrounded by a vast expanse of lush greenery, and the grounds were patrolled by the king’s guards, who kept an eye on anyone suspicious.

This Academy was established by the king of the time in the first place.

The king can’t trust noblemen who are subservient to him, so he made the Academy specifically to keep an eye on their children…or rather, as hostages.

That’s why this is an Academy that only nobles attend.

Furthermore, because of these circumstances surrounding its founding, the nobles are forced to attend the Academy, and now that the meaning of “hostage” has become weakened, it has become one of their status symbols.

Even though I’m aware that I’m hated by those around me, I’ve put up with attending the Academy for the past six months.

On the other hand, there was one enjoyment in attending the Academy.

The Academy has horses and stables, and people to manage and maintain them so that students can enjoy horseback riding. Since I can’t ride horses very often when I’m back in my territory, I enjoyed it after school at the Academy.

These past few days, I’ve been returning home immediately after school, so I haven’t had time to enjoy it. That’s a shame.

I want to live a little more peacefully. As I think that, a carriage stops at the front entrance of the Academy, and I get off and go inside.

Chapter 4: Is there something strange about my ability…?

The classroom for holding classes is a small hall on the east side of the first floor.

Today, I was scheduled to listen to lectures on history, music, and theology.

These will end around noon, and we will each return to our homes in the capital.

I entered the small hall just in time for the start of the class to avoid hearing gossip.

Even if I sit in the empty seat in the back, the teacher does not seem to come.

Perhaps the elderly teacher is feeling unwell. If that is the case, the Academy’s servant should come to contact us soon…

While thinking about such things, the voices of the students in the classroom, who were initially quiet, start to grow louder.

“Count Elvasti’s daughter is showing up to school as usual.”

“If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to come to school if my fiance was taken away.”

“Wouldn’t you normally just stay in bed? You have a lot of nerves.”

(…It would be nice if I couldn’t hear these nasty comments.)

Even if I hear unpleasant rumors that I can’t do anything about, I sigh and look over at the five people, including Augren Duke’s daughter, who are particularly gossiping about me——

“What?”

——The noise in the classroom suddenly dies down.

I thought the teacher had come, but that’s not the case. Moreover, when I listen closely, it seems that the five people are still talking, but their voices aren’t reaching me at all.

(Have I gone deaf?)

I was startled for a moment. I don’t want to be so isolated that I can’t hear the teacher’s instructions because I’m having trouble hearing.

But it’s comfortable.

I can’t hear any strange words or mocking voices. As always, I worry about this, but my tense shoulders have relaxed a bit.

As I’m feeling relieved, the history teacher finally arrives.

He’s an old man with a long white beard, like a dead branch that could fall and break a bone at any moment.

“You five in the front row, you’re not being very decorous talking among yourselves. Remember your manners as ladies and gentlemen and go tell the etiquette teacher to review the rules with you.”

As soon as he entered the small room, the teacher started talking to the five people who were standing in the front row and chatting.

It seems that the five people who were gossiping about me are protesting to the teacher, but I still can’t hear them.

(But I can hear the teacher’s voice, so there’s no problem…)

Even if I don’t get better after going home, I should show it to the doctor, but for now there is no problem, so I concluded and took the lesson.

The lesson is not so boring.

Even if you learn history, it is not a matter of memorizing the year and the name of the king at that time.

It is already assumed that this has been taught by a private tutor.

This old teacher tells stories about wars and land reclamation like hero tales, and political exchanges in chronological order from ancient times.

However, whenever the story ends, the teacher always gives a test based on his story, so I have to take notes properly to remember it in my notes.

As I concentrate on the lesson, an hour goes by in a flash.

Furthermore, Augren Duke’s daughters were taken led by the old teacher, perhaps because they protested. As a result, I no longer have to worry about being told various things loudly after class.

I headed for the next music lesson with a refreshing feeling.

Today is just viewing , so I’m feeling easy… but a new problem appeared ahead in the corridor.

(Albert is there)

A young man with golden brown hair was standing in the hallway.

Furthermore, there are a few noble friends with him…which means that if I pass by him, I will definitely be spoken badly of by his friends.

(I don’t want to get close…)

I will go through another way. I turned my direction with that thought.

“Linea.”

I heard a voice calling me.

But let’s pretend we didn’t hear. I don’t want to listen. I go down to the garden and start walking a route that cuts through the garden.

“Linea! I have something to talk to you!”

But Albert was chasing after me, running. He always ignores me!

(Don’t touch me!)

As soon as anger welled up inside me,

“Ouch!?”

“?”

Albert moved away from me as if he was struck by something.

I didn’t swing my arm and I wonder what happened?

I had a question in mind, but I didn’t miss this opportunity and ran. But Albert is still chasing after me.

“Wait! You’re going to run away after kicking people?”

(I didn’t do such a thing, but there’s no point in telling him that. He’s persistent! Go further away!)

As soon as I turned around and glared at him, Albert was no longer able to move forward from that spot.

“Wha…!?”

At the same time as Albert was surprised, I was also amazed.

(Why can’t he move?)

In the moment I thought it was impossible, Albert’s body moved forward, but maybe because the timing was out of sync with the person trying to walk, he fell on the spot.

“…”

It doesn’t seem like something I can talk about calmly, and I don’t want to see anything unpleasant on my birthday, so I left him behind and moved to the music room where the next class would be held.

In the music room, musicians had already gathered and were tuning their instruments.

The aristocrat children, including the senior students, were sitting on the lined up chairs each to themselves.

I looked for an empty chair, but there wasn’t one, so I sat near an unfamiliar female student.

Then the female student looked at me and moved to another seat.

“Well, it’s fine. I prefer a spacious seat.”

I take a breath. Besides, it’s better than having to listen to someone’s badmouthing up close.

The class then began, and a plump female teacher began explaining the song that will be played.

In music class, there are no tests or anything about the songs we listen to. Everyone is made to play the piano and points are given, so I listen to it easily.

Meanwhile, I think back on today’s events.

I noticed that I stopped hearing the voices of Augren Duke’s daughters during the previous class.

A moment ago, Albert stopped approaching me.

I have a feeling that none of this is a coincidence.

Even now, I can’t hear the hushed voices of Augren Duke’s daughter who are sitting close by on purpose.

On a whim, I try to hear the voices of Augren Duke’s daughter again, and then——

“She’s trying to play it cool, but she’s just pretending.”

“Is she hiding the fact that she’s crying inside?”

“It’s shameful that she can’t even keep her fiancé’s feelings in check.”

Suddenly, I can hear their voices again.

(I can control this?!)

I try to block their voices out again, and once more, I can’t hear the voices of Augren Duke’s daughter.

“It’s certain…” I mutter to myself.

I have no idea what’s going on, but it seems like I’ve gained a strange ability.

It’s an ability that I’m not sure will be very useful.

Chapter 5: Consideration on the cause of wonderful skill

(But isn’t this very comfortable to live with?!)

Shut out all negative comments.

I don’t care because I can’t hear it, and it’s comfortable every day!

I have no idea what is being said, so I respond with a smile even to unpleasant people and surprise them!

Moreover, if we consider the example of Albert, no one can approach me to complain.

(Wonderful!)

As the bright music starts, my mood rises.

My heart became lively with the violin sound representing the chirping of spring birds.

But what kind of ability is this?

(I’ve heard of something called a magic block, but … is this a special ability skill similar to that?)

There are magic and special abilities in the world.

Both are rare.

Compared to magic, special ability holders are rarer.

There used to be many of them, but they say it’s because of a hole in the world that’s been filled by a sacred being.

Still, beings who use this mysterious power exist.

Currently, the [Holy King] who reigns at the top of the temple is said to be a special ability holder.

I learned from my tutor that I have healing abilities.

I am a being who specializes in one ability in such a way.

On the other hand, magicians, who were once despised as having the power of evil, have established themselves as special beings by actively participating in times of war and can use various magic.

It seems that if you have a certain talent, you can use magic by training and using a sacred flower as a medium.

However, there are few people who have talent in the first place.

Now, about my strange ability.

I think it is a special ability because it can be activated without using a sacred flower.

It seems to appear when something triggers it, so it is not strange to acquire this ability at the age of 16.

But the cause is…

(It must be a sacred flower pastry. Definitely.)

I thought it was strange that I fell asleep immediately after eating it.

Although I had a nightmare, it was a welcome development that I acquired the ability to make it easier for me to attend the Academy for the next year and a half as a result.

(I need to write a thank-you letter to Oji-sama…It was a very nice birthday present. However, that alone is not enough. After sending the letter, I wonder if it would be better to offer something embroidered with thanks as well?)

I am thinking about how to express my gratitude to Oji-sama, and I can’t help but smile at the thought.

But I was so focused on my thoughts that I didn’t realize that the music being played had changed to a sad winter song.

I feel glances that briefly look at me strangely, and finally realize it.

It’s crazy to smile during a sad song…

(I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t. Even if no one can hear, I must not provide material for bad comments.)

The next lesson also went comfortably.

I was about to meet Albert again in the hallway, but he made a strange face and avoided me.

I’m in a good mood, so I decided to go horseback riding after school.

(Let’s horseback ride for the first time in a while. No matter what the person we meet says, I don’t have to worry about it and I’m sure I’ll have fun.)

I tell the servant who came with the carriage from home to leave me my study pens and notebooks and to say that I will be late for about two hours. I also said it was okay to go back once.

“My Lady, have you eaten?”

It’s already noon, and I’m a little hungry. But I wanted to do something fun while I’m in such a happy mood.

“It’s okay. I’ll eat when I get back.”

“Please use the Academy’s dining hall. If you forget to take care of your meals, I will be scolded by the head servant, Joseph-sama.”

“…okay.”

Actually, I don’t want to see anyone else. That’s why I wanted to avoid the dining hall. Even if I can’t hear the negative comments, I can see the disgusted faces. And it’s inevitable that I’ll see all of that.

Maybe I can just pretend to eat?

I nodded to the servant and decided to go straight to the stables.

I concluded that I should just keep quiet. When I returned home, I told the servant that I had eaten, but my stomach soon felt empty. Maybe I didn’t eat enough… I can just make an excuse.

I was confidently walking down the small path in the school garden when I heard a voice calling to me.

“Hey, over there.”

It’s probably not about me.

Boys students wouldn’t call me over unless it was an urgent matter.

At worst, it could be something like a notification that one of tomorrow’s classes has been cancelled, but I wouldn’t be told about it. Even if I don’t know, it wouldn’t be a problem because I would receive a proper notification at home.

I’m worried that there’s no one around, but I hurry on.

But I am called again.

“Count Elvasti, Lady Linea-sama.”

“…”

I turned around because I realized it was me.

There was a young man with long golden hair loosely tied at the nape of his neck, and a dark-haired young man who looked like a guard, a little away from me.

They stopped right in front of me, a few steps away from me.

The dark-haired young man is probably a knight. I think he is an officially knighted person who has been appointed by the king because he was allowed to wear a sword when he entered the Academy.

I also recognized the golden-haired young man who was with him.

“I’m sorry to bother you with someone like me. What can I do for you… Your Excellency Duke Svald?”

This beautiful older young man with golden hair is Lars il Svald, who at the age of 18 has already inherited the Duke title. He is a rare person in this Academy who has a peerage.

By the way, because he has [il] in his name, he should have had the right to succeed to the throne. I remember that he was the 8th or something.

It is not surprising for him to have a knight guard with him.

But what the hell does he want from me?

I don’t know, but I can’t just block the other person’s voice and turn to Duke Svald because it’s troublesome.

“I was thinking of asking for your opinion.”

“Opinion, sir?”

“On the sacred flower confectionery.”

“Sac…”

I opened my eyes wide.

“You mean, the person Oji-sama had made confectionery for him is…”

“Me.”

…I see.

Duke Svald, who inherited the title at the young age of 18, has a well-known nickname in addition to his title.

――The Confectionery Duke.

Despite having a face as beautiful as a religious painting, he is an unrivaled confectionery lover.

I have heard that when invited to tea parties with the words “We have prepared special confectionery,” he hardly ever declines.

As a result, Duke Svald has created sacred flower confectionery exclusively for him. He has even created his own connections with the magician guilds and temples that hold the priority of sacred flowers.

If Oji-sama tries to get sacred flower confectionery as a gift for his niece, it would probably be quickest to buy it from Duke Svald.

But it’s strange.

“Uh, did you come looking for me specifically to ask for my opinion on the sweets…?”

I thought it was just for sweets, but Duke Svald said something unexpected.

“Did you eat the sacred flower sweets you were supposed to receive yesterday? Because they were made by mixing a slightly different sacred flower, I was wondering if any strange effects were happening. Have you had any strange dreams? I used sacred flowers that were blooming in a spring of light in the middle of the White Night Mountains.”

“Uh…”

Strange dreams. Could that nightmare have been caused by this Duke?!

I almost screamed, but held it back at my throat.

I can’t show such a disgraceful appearance in front of other nobles.

Chapter 6: Please tell me about the confection

(Calm down, Linea.)

I tell myself to calm down and take a deep breath before asking again.

“Duke, did you say ‘a strange dream after eating something with some kind of special element in it?’”

“That’s right.”

Duke Svald nods easily.

“Wh…”

Why did you give such a thing to my uncle?!

I feel like yelling again, but I hold myself back.

…What should I do? My peaceful mood today is half gone.

“If I may ask, why did you give such a thing to my uncle?”

Duke Svald answers without hesitation when I ask again.

“Your uncle, Viscount Vinge, said he wanted to give something unusual to eat sometimes. He asked me to make it using sacred flowers that he bought for himself. I didn’t use anything dangerous, but I wanted to see what kind of effect it would have… I guess you had a nightmare or something? I’m sorry.”

Duke Svald lowers the corners of his eyebrows.

It was certainly a terrible nightmare, but because the occasion for this strange ability may have been that sacred flower dessert, it might be judged to be zero after all.

“That’s why you shouldn’t easily give away things that haven’t been verified…”

The black-haired knight whispers softly behind Duke Svald.

Startled by such a good voice, I can’t help but look at him.

Purple eyes, hidden by slightly long bangs, are directed at the Duke. The knight’s face, as beautiful as Duke Svald’s, was filled with amazement.

I wonder if this knight is close to Duke Svald because he is allowed to speak in such a casual way.

“The sacred flower confection was so ineffective that…that’s because it really used a special sacred flower. I was going to eat it, but the Viscount was in a hurry…I thought. In any case, the effect of the sacred flower dessert is not a minor matter.”

“Well, ordinary sacred flowers don’t have such a big effect…”

The knight nods to Duke’s argument.

I was surprised to learn for the first time that the sacred flower sweets had a subtle effect on me.

“And I thought that it would be okay if I sent it to her because I knew she was going to the Academy. I thought that if I could hear the result at the Academy and apologize immediately if anything happened, it would be okay.”

He shrugged.

Was Duke Svald not afraid of meeting me? Surely he knows the rumors about the Elvasti family. Or does he think of me differently from my father?

If he does not think badly of me, I do not want to do anything that would leave a bad impression.

(But…is the influence of the sacred flower really that much?)

If something else happened, it would be a problem, and if I cut off the conversation now, I might lose my confidant.

There is also a way through my uncle…but I do not want to make my uncle, who is the only one who gave me a present, feel uncomfortable.

I decided and told Duke Svald,

“Actually, I had a bit of a bad dream…but could that be due to the influence of the sacred flower? I heard that if you make it into a sweet, it doesn’t work as a medium for magic.”

It is said that sacred flowers with less attractive shapes are less likely to be used as intermediaries for magic.

So apparently, damaged ones are even turned into ingredients for sweets.

“That’s right. But even a small amount of the strong power of a sacred flower can produce some effect. With the power accumulated in that sacred flower.”

“There is an effect…?”

It was an interesting story.

Until now, I had thought that sacred flower sweets were sweets that didn’t make you gain weight because they used expensive ingredients.

That’s right, they don’t make you gain weight.

If you use sacred flowers, you don’t need as much sugar because sacred flowers are sweet.

There is a story that a princess who ate a lot of sacred flower sweets in the past made by using sacred flowers never gained weight at all.

But it’s not just that, to think that there is an expected effect…

It seems that the proportion of sacred flowers mixed in also plays a role. And it’s definitely not a mistake that strong sacred flowers have a strong effect, at least that’s what the [Confectionary Duke] has figured out. He seems to have been studying sacred flowers.

“The sacred flowers with strong power can only influence their surroundings with their own power. They emit a faint light. The power involved in the blooming of the sacred flower becomes the ability of that sacred flower.”

“The ability of the sacred flower…”

“Yes. For example, a black sacred flower accumulates dark magic power, so it becomes a medium for dark magic spells.”

I’ve heard that black sacred flower confections are not very popular. I didn’t care and ate them anyway.

Come to think of it, the sacred flower that was a birthday present was mixed with black.

“What kind of flower did I eat?”

“That was from the White Night Mountains, a place where the power of the night that blocks out the sun is strong. But the night does not block out the light of the stars. And the light of the stars is related to the power of fate and dreams. It seems that magicians use such sacred flowers to see into the future, and they have almost the same accuracy as divination.”

“Dreams… That’s why you asked me.”

I see. So the bad dreams were really caused by the sacred flowers.

I was curious about the other one too.

Fate.

Could it be that the blocking skill sprouted because the power of the stars that moves fate has affected me?

“But if it’s the light of the stars, basically you shouldn’t have that many bad dreams. I’ve eaten it many times and I’ve also made Asher eat it, but I haven’t been plagued by particularly bad dreams. But the strength of the night’s power is worrying… I’ve also been slightly plagued once when I ate the sacred flower with strong night power.”

Duke Svald apologizes again there, saying “I’m sorry.”

“It’s not something for which you should be apologizing to me, Lord Duke. Please don’t worry about it.”

I said that, somewhat confused.

To be honest, it’s not something that happens often for someone like me to be apologized to by someone other than my servant, and I’m not used to it.

Also, if I’m left alone with Duke Svald like this, I’m afraid that the person who sees me next will think I’m the one who did something wrong and say so. I just want this to be over.

“Besides, I wasn’t that scared either. I’m even thinking of eating the remaining sacred flower sweets today.”

“There are still… remaining?”

Duke Svald responds to those words and looks at me intently, as if he is extremely interested. Maybe he wants to further study the effect of the sacred flower I received… Is that it?

“I was thinking of trying a little bit to eat today.”

Then Duke approaches me and firmly shakes my hands.

“I really want to try it. And if possible, I would like to know the result.”

I was slightly taken aback by Duke’s sincere gaze and enthusiasm.

Chapter 7: I think about nightmares

“I see nightmares through the sacred flower…”

Before the sun sets, I return home and can’t help but mutter to myself as I open the silver box in my room.

This beautiful black and blue confectionery.

From the taste, it feels like a candy, but I’m surprised that the sacred flower mixed into the candy was the cause of my nightmare.

If eating it will always lead to seeing a nightmare, I hesitate.

“But if I can have a connection with the Duke through this, I have no choice but to do it.”

Not only will the insults stop being heard, but I’ll also be able to keep Albert at a distance, but it’s still nice to have someone on my side, or at least someone who will look at me fairly.

I’ve heard that he is a relatively fair person. Sometimes he is said to be too fair and too cold to those who want him to favor them.

I think such a connection with him is necessary for me to lead a peaceful Academy life.

In addition, if I become close with Duke Svald, who belongs to the royal family, the people who openly speak ill of me will become fewer.

Even though I can’t hear insults, malice still gets through. I don’t want to be bothered and I want to live a quiet life. It’s a childish move to use my parents as a shield, but it’s very important to me to spend the next year and a half in a peaceful state of mind. That’s why I decided to quickly get ready for bed after dinner.

“Are you not feeling well?” My chambermaid, Katie, asks worriedly.

“I just feel tired because I went horseback riding today. Don’t worry about it.” If I smile and say that, Katie doesn’t pursue the matter further.

Before I go to sleep, I eat some of the flowers.

“Ah, I don’t feel like sleeping right away tonight.”

Unlike yesterday, my consciousness doesn’t suddenly cut out.

I guess I was just mentally tired yesterday.

Even so, I had extinguished the light from the candelabra because I intended to sleep, and reading in the dark or doing embroidery would strain my eyes. I just close my eyes and think about theDuke and the others I met today.

“Duke Svald… now that I think about it, I’ve never had any dealings with him before.”

My family, where my father has almost forgotten about my existence, rarely goes to parties where my father is involved.

My father goes to parties all over the place without accompaniment.

I have been accompanied by him once, after much fuss with the head of the house and Oji-sama. But that was a party for young ladies to greet His Majesty the King in society.

We just walked next to each other at the entrance, and there was no conversation.

Looking back, I regret not trying to curry favor with him… That might have made a stronger impression.

Perhaps because I was with my father, I was more deeply branded as the daughter of the evil Count’s family.

“Still, it’s a miracle that Albert’s family agreed to the marriage proposal despite the financial and tariff relations that started it all… Some people might say I’m not even a daughter. Well, the other party just remembered my existence and used marriage as a way to extract my father’s support.”

At the time of the engagement, Albert’s family was in a bit of a difficult situation. Suddenly, heavy rain and earthquakes overlapped, and the fields became rough, and there were many human casualties due to landslides.

When they looked for a helping hand, they happened to have a bait to eliminate tariffs on the commercial route that my father seemed to want, so they were able to contract in the form of an engagement.

“I… Still…”

I was happy because there was someone who thought my existence was important.

And I felt hope for Albert, who initially respected me.

That is why I cannot forgive him.

It is worse that he ignores me and treats me as if I am not needed than if he flirted with other women.

I don’t want to talk to him anymore.

“I don’t want to get married…”

As I whispered, my consciousness seemed to fade away.

***

“You’ve always hated Michelia, haven’t you?”

That was the golden-haired young man, Albert, who spoke.

I am being held by soldiers with my arms pinned and seated on the floor of some building.

“I didn’t do that! I just wanted to avoid the war and ran away!”

But the young man standing next to Albert looked down at me with a condescending gaze.

“What are you talking about. You must have leaked Michelia’s information. That sacred flowers would bloom in the territory where she originally lived. That she had magical talent… We relied on that and had a plan to push back the soldiers of the Kingdom of Walden.”

“I don’t know, I don’t know!”

As I shouted, I was suddenly trampled from behind.

“Ahh!”

I stop breathing due to the pain.

At that moment, various memories rampage in my mind.

The shadow of the conflict with the neighboring country becomes denser in my motherland.

In the midst of all this, I was desperate because I had been bullied, and I accepted an offer to study abroad in a neighboring country.

That was for the purpose of delivering a secret letter hidden in my luggage.

I knew that my father was in contact with the neighboring country, but I couldn’t do anything about it now, so I lived as if I was being confined in the neighboring country.

While I was doing that, I learned that the girl whom Albert valued had become able to use special magic and was called the “Maiden of Salvation,” and that the army of the neighboring country had been repulsed.

I told the general of the neighboring country about her.

There was also a reason that I was in their care. It was because that person was looking after my life in the neighboring country.

But more than anything, the general of the neighboring country sincerely agreed about the treatment that my former fiancé Albert did…

Based on that information, it is said that the general of the neighboring country directed assassins at her.

They seem to think that I, who supposedly harbored resentment towards her, personally sent the assassins.

I don’t have such power.

I was actually trying to tell him how terrible a person Albert is. I don’t want to be thought of as an aristocratic lady who is interested in a commoner’s mistress, so I only answered when asked about her.

Then someone standing above me, probably trampling on me, said, “There’s no need to confess. We have all the evidence we need. Just capture her and take her to the capital as punishment.”

Then, in a kind voice, the person continued, “That way, you can be at ease, Michelia.”

“Please, don’t do anything scary like punishment,” a thin woman’s voice responded.

It’s the unforgettable voice of the outrageous servant who openly stole my fiancé from me.

“In that case, let’s have her imprisoned forever.”

The future that was declared for me doesn’t seem to have improved at all.

***

“Eek!”

I jumped out of bed again today.

Chapter 8: What is this dream?

It was fortunate that it was still before dawn.

I was glad that I didn’t have to surprise Katie again and make her scream.

After patting my chest, I think about the dream from before.

“It was very detailed…”

It was a dream that was set up with such fine details that I can’t believe it was created by my own brain while I was asleep.

“If she’s capable of magic, it’s possible that the servant in that dream could be the savior.”

There are not many people who can use magic. The Mage Guild raises talented children from the common people and teaches them magic in order to nurture as many talented individuals as possible into magicians and pass on their knowledge to serve the public.

Therefore, people from the Mage Guild cannot be used in wars.

On the other hand, if a noble has talent and can use magic on their own, they are not granted knowledge from the Guild, but are allowed to participate in wars.

What if that’s what that servant was.

I’m sure she was the daughter of a fallen noble family…

“The Maiden of Salvation…”

That’s what she was called in the dream. It sounds familiar… I thought about it and then it hit me.

Yesterday’s dream.

“Wait, hold on a minute.”

I appeared to have been caught in a neighboring country today. However, I was being accused of planning everything even though I had not actually taken any action.

As a result, it seems that I was sentenced to imprisonment because of my unbecoming comments, even for a servant.

“Being locked up in a cell…forever…isn’t this just a continuation of yesterday’s dream?”

If I were to be locked up, it wouldn’t be strange for me to be in such a situation.

Maybe I was being taken back to my home country and was on my way to a cell…something like that.

The word “Maiden of Salvation” also matches.

Even if it was the influence of yesterday’s dream, I have a question as to why I had such a dream that would bring up that word yesterday.

I haven’t been reading heroic tales or stories of saints much lately.

As I was thinking, the door was knocked on.

“I’m awake.”

When I answered, Katie quietly entered the room.

“Good morning, My Lady. I brought water for washing your face and tea.”

Katie sets two silver bowls on a small table next to the bed.

One is water for washing my face, and the other is rosewater, which is supposed to be good for the skin.

After washing my face, I let the sweet-smelling rosewater soak into my skin.

After wiping my face with the cloth Katie offers, I take a sip of tea to catch my breath. During this time, Katie begins to prepare my dress.

“My Lady, what dress will you be wearing today?”

“…there was a navy-colored one, bring a few of those.”

After dreaming of being treated as a criminal, I can’t bring myself to wear anything too bright. So, I specify a dark color to Katie, different from yesterday but still dark.

Katie obeys silently. She probably predicted that I wouldn’t change my mind because of yesterday.

By the time I finish my tea, Katie spreads out three dresses on the bed.

“I think the dress with the beautiful white lace in the middle would look best on My Lady.”

Although I felt bad for some reason when Katie said such beautiful words, I chose the dress on the far left.

“It looks a bit cold today, and I’m planning to go horseback riding, so that one is fine.”

I choose a dress with a not-too-low neckline. But since this one also has cream-colored lace on the sleeves and hem of the dress, Katie didn’t object.

The cloth flowers on the neckline and skirt were sprinkled with red and pink, which made them not look so dark. I thought they looked better than yesterday.

Once my preparations were complete, Katie tried to leave, but I stopped her.

“Katie, I have a question for you…”

“What is it?”

I hesitantly asked Katie, who had a hesitant expression.

“In the city… I wonder if there’s anything in there like the famous story of the Salvation? You know, the ones where there was a female protagonist?”

I asked this because of the dream I had yesterday that continued today, and because the phrase “Maiden of Salvation” appeared twice. It caught my attention.

…It’s almost like I play the role of the villain.

…I tried to kill the Maiden of Salvation?

The words from the dream flicker in my head.

The reason for this is that the memories from the dream were too detailed. If it could happen in reality, it would be… I felt uneasy.

So I wanted to confirm it.

If there was no popular play or story with the Maiden of Salvation among the common people, it would mean that this was just an illusion created by my dream, and I should just consider it a nightmare and forget about it in the future.

But what if there was such a play or story?

Is that dream a prophecy or something?

If that’s the case, will I… eventually be imprisoned and locked away for the rest of my life?

Katie honestly answered me, who was frightened inwardly.

“My Lady is well-informed about the entertainment of commoners. It seems to be the most popular novel recently at the rental bookshop.”

“…!”

I was about to scream. I tried hard to hold it back because my behavior was too suspicious.

But I was too shocked and couldn’t speak.

If I don’t say something soon… It’s strange if I don’t react, even though I started the conversation. Even if I just say “I see” and end it because she is a servant. I have never treated Katie like that.

But what should I say? Should I say “Oh, I see.” and pretend not to notice?

(No. That will end the conversation. If possible, I want to know the contents of the story.)

It’s a story about a situation similar to my dream self and my fiancé’s affair.

It might be helpful to read it.

(If that dream was the future shown by the sacred flower… I definitely don’t want to be imprisoned. In order to avoid that, I have to verify the dream and understand the contents of the story by reading it.)

If there is a possibility that I will be imprisoned in the future, I will try to avoid it.

I swallowed my saliva and told Katie,

“I’d like to see that book too. Can I, um… borrow it?”

“Yes. If you have time to go to the library, I will extend the deadline for returning it.”

It seems that Katie has the actual book. The deadline for returning it to the library must be today. It is better to keep it at hand than to postpone it.

“In that case, I will buy the book. Since I will ask you to accompany me when I send and receive today, please stop by the bookstore and buy it when you do. In that case… I will stop horseback riding. Oh, you can return the book to the library after you send me to the Academy.”

Katie answered with a little surprise at my words.

“Yes, I understand, My Lady.”

“Then I will tell you the schedule, so call the head of the household.”

This will allow me to confirm whether my dream is close to reality. I continued preparing to go to the Academy with a sense of relief.

Chapter 9: The use of skills is…

After arriving at the Academy, I was able to lead a comfortable Academy life just like yesterday.

Although I wanted to think about the dream, I saw a troublesome Albert and immediately kept my distance from him. As a result, today he didn’t chase after me as he usually does.

But today, Michelia Allerid, the servant that Albert was dating, appeared in front of me.

Whenever I see Michelia, a noble lady, cleaning the hallway, the noble ladies start whispering to each other.

For example,

——Michelia, the servant, was originally the daughter of a Count.

After incurring debt and committing a blunder, they incurred the displeasure of the king. The main head fell ill, and according to what I’ve heard, in order to erase the debt, they secretly traded with a neighboring country.

As a traitor, the Count’s territory was seized, and poor Michelia, the Count’s daughter, became a commoner.

Thanks to the introduction of a sympathetic friend of her father, she obtained a job as a servant at the Academy.

(The problem is that the one they owed money to was our Count family.)

——They fell from grace because of the debt they incurred from the Elvasti Count family.

I’ve heard that many times in the rumor mill.

Yes, Michelia’s house is one of the infamous actions of my Count family. That’s why I’m being told things like this: Michelia stole the fiancé of the Elvasti daughter for revenge…

As far as I’m concerned, that’s a believable story.

Otherwise, a former Count’s daughter would not be flirting openly with a man to whom I am engaged in a place where I might witness it.

(She must be doing it on purpose. She must be trying to annoy me.)

I’ve suspected this all along.

So I don’t envy Michelia, I just find it annoying that if she becomes his mistress, I’ll have to be conscious of Michelia from now on.

I also suspect that Albert is taking advantage of the situation just to annoy me, since he doesn’t like me either.

(But is it really love that makes me want to be with Albert? Or do I just want to secure a guarantee for my own life?)

If that’s not the case, I might as well go see Albert right after I’ve fallen from an aristocrat lady to a commoner.

I thought I might have met again and relied on Albert when I started studying at this Academy.

Michelia Allerid was mumbling and dawdling there after finishing cleaning the corridor today.

On my way to take a music lesson.

Moreover, there were many other noble daughters around. Even Augren Duke’s daughter was chatting with her friends.

It’s a really bad situation.

If I turn around and go the long way, they’ll say I’ve been defeated by a servant or some such nonsense.

But now I have the power to overcome this.

(I will not hear that servant’s voice, and I will not let her come near me…)

I advance forward with that thought.

Michelia suddenly looked this way. As if she had noticed something, she started walking towards me. Why?

I don’t know.

A servant normally doesn’t speak to a noble daughter so openly. Moreover, what does it mean to approach me with a bucket in hand?

But I have the power to block her… or so I thought.

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

One of the daughters pretended to stumble and bumped into Michelia, tripping her up.

One of Augren Duke’s daughter’s underlings… A baroness.

Michelia naturally tripped and overturned the bucket of water with all her might.

(I hate getting wet with water!)

I screamed as I was splashed with water.

(…Hmm?)

Although the floor near me got wet, there was no sign that the hem of my dress got wet.

“Oh no, a servant spilled the bucket of water!”

“My shoes got dirty! These are the white silk shoes that my father kindly bought for me!”

“Me too!”

The noble ladies who tripped Michelia nearby were making a big fuss.

Since it was the person holding the bucket who tripped, it is only natural that it is their own fault.

Michelia seems to be saying something in defense…or at least it looks that way. Since I set it so that I can’t hear any sound, I don’t know what she is saying.

In any case, there is nothing good for me to stay here, so I left as I was.

I noticed that Michelia was looking at me with pleading eyes, but unfortunately, I am not kind enough to help the person who put me in this predicament.

After all, in her case, even though I helped her before, I have been repaid with ingratitude.

“Was it her who tipped over the bucket of water that time?”

Even though I said “don’t worry about it” because I didn’t know about the matter with Albert, Michelia made a big fuss.

In the end, Michelia told the person who came, “that My Lady…” as if I had tripped her and made me out to be the villain.”

I won’t fall for the same trick again.

While thinking such a thing and trying to turn a corner and get away from the scene.

The place where Michelia and the others, who I had left behind, were. They were still talking about something.

On the other side, I could see the appearance of that confectionery Duke and the knight, watching Michelia and the others’ commotion with interest.

“…”

I sigh inwardly.

I might have been disliked by those people.

I had no concern for the tripped servant and did not kindly address or protect her from the surrounding people.

It was certainly behavior that was far from that of a gentle noblewoman.

“After all, I’m already a disliked person. It’s too late now…”

I probably muttered in self-defense, but even I knew that.

Instead of such things, I focused my attention on other things.

I should think about the ability that unexpectedly arose.

(I thought it only worked on people. Can it work on other things too?)

I knew that it could prevent people from approaching me physically and vocally, but I didn’t think it would work on water as well.

(I’ll try it later on fire and other things to see if it has the same effect.)

I make a mental note.

Now, what else should I try? After thinking for a while, I remembered the bag I was carrying. Its contents.

After going to the music room, I tried to reach into my bag and take out my writing supplies while thinking about it.

(The pen and notebook won’t make contact with me.)

Then, my hand stopped short, as if it had hit the bottom of the bag, and I couldn’t reach any further.

(Does this effect work on pens and notebooks too? If so, it probably works on most things.)

I was excited about my new discovery and wanted to try more things. I couldn’t get this idea out of my head during my music lesson.

This happened after the lesson was over.

As I was walking quickly towards the waiting carriage, Duke Svald called out to me as usual, “Hey, Count Elvasti’s daughter.”

Chapter 10: Confectionery Duke’s luscious offer

“Ah…”

(Oh, what an unexpected thing)

I was about to say that and then I closed my mouth.

I never expected Duke Svald, who had seen the scene, to cheerfully call out to me.

After all, the other nobles should have blamed me as the villain after I left.

A person who doesn’t even care for the young lady (servant) beside her, and has no compassion.

If that’s all, maybe Count Elvasti’s daughter did something and the servant fell down and they’re blaming me for it all.

That’s how everything has been so far.

After seeing that scene, I thought Duke Svald would definitely not approach me if he heard bad things about me.

For nobles, reputation is very important.

Although there are some small conflicts with other countries, those nobles who can’t gain fame from that try to exclude unwanted people using their connections and protect their position.

That’s why they don’t want to have anything to do with the Count Elvasti house.

If they reach out to me, they might create a bad reputation such as [Is that house doing something suspicious as well]?

In this situation.

Does Duke Svald not care at all about his reputation falling?

It is strange, but Duke Svald said cheerfully to me.

“I finally found you, Lady Linea. By the way, how did it go with the thing I mentioned yesterday? Can you tell me?”

(Is he more interested in the effect of the sweets than his reputation?)

As expected of the Confectionary Duke… I think to myself as I answer.

“Yes, Duke-sama. Actually… I had a nightmare again.”

“I see… That’s a problem.”

Duke Svald makes a difficult expression.

“Excuse me, Duke. May I ask what is troubling you?”

When I ask, Duke Svald gives a bitter smile.

“No, it’s not something so difficult. It’s just that I didn’t see any dreams that seemed like nightmares on my side. I thought it might be something that shouldn’t be passed on to others.”

“Th-that’s not true. I love flower sweets, so I feel joy when I can enjoy their taste rather than nightmares…”

Duke Svald shows a weak smile.

“I am grateful that you said that. However, there is also someone else who received sweets made with the same sacred flower…”

“There is someone else?”

I am surprised.

For a moment, I wondered if that person didn’t see any strange nightmares…

There are two things I’m worried about: whether or not they have a strange special ability like mine.

(If it has manifested, I’d like to know what kind of ability it has…)

But in that case, I would have to reveal my own skill, which I want to avoid.

(If a normal person had a skill, it wouldn’t be a problem, but if it became known that I, who am always viewed as a villain no matter what I do due to my father’s affair, had a skill, it’s certain that I’d “harmed someone” or strange rumors would start)

In the end, I’ll probably be isolated as a person who has a dangerous skill, sooner than I face that nightmare.

(…hmm?)

When I start to imagine that, I feel like I realize something, but the words that came to my throat disappear halfway… I’ll think about it again later.

“It was a somewhat unusual sacred flower. It’s not quite the same as the original because it was used in a flower confectionery, but even so, “she” still wanted it…”

Seeing Duke’s distressed expression, I can’t help but try to comfort him.

“Lord Duke was not affected by it at all. It’s not a problem if you don’t notice it. Maybe I have a disposition that causes me to see nightmares or something.”

Surely it’s just my special case, I say, and Duke Svald apologizes as if it’s his fault.

“I hope it’s okay… I’m sorry for causing you trouble, even though it was my mistake. By the way, please call me Lars. We’re both students, so I hope we can continue to be friendly in the future.”

“Th… thank you. If it’s not inconvenient, I would be happy if you called me Linea.”

I reluctantly agreed, even though I was feeling uneasy.

Suddenly, my heart was lifted.

I, who was disliked, had never been spoken to in such a friendly manner, as if to say “let’s be friends.” And this was after the situation where it couldn’t be helped if I was thought of as an heartless person.

I was afraid to ask what Lars was thinking at that time, but if he said it like that… at least it seems that I am not disliked for simply having a conversation about the confectionery.

“Well then, Miss Linea, I have a request.”

“What is it?”

Asking for a favor is also evidence that Lars is interested in me. But I wonder what it could be.

“I would like you to try some other sweets as well. If it is really true that you have a unique constitution, you can be relieved about this sweets as well… and as an apology for the nightmare, I would like to offer you some sweets.”

“I would love to, Lars-sama.”

I replied immediately.

If I can eat sweets other than on my birthday, it would be a welcome gift.

There was already an advantage to that alone, but there was another reason.

(If the cause of my special ability is sweets, what will happen if I eat other sweets? I might be able to find out if only the ones I received this time were special. And I am also curious about the nightmare, so if I have the same kind of dreams with non-special sweets…)

I still don’t know for sure if that will become a realistic nightmare.

To verify it, I might need even more sweets. It is difficult to obtain such rare items on my own, so Lars’s offer is welcome.

Lars was a little surprised and opened his eyes wide.

“Are you really okay? Are the nightmares not painful?”

“There is no need to endure.”

Even the knight Asher, who had been silent until now, says this to me, and I realize that I have done something a little strange.

If I were a normal lady, I would probably find it painful to have nightmares and even hate sleeping. But I jumped into the conversation because I wanted some sweets.

(But even if I act normally, no one will praise me. If something like a dream were to happen by any chance, I want to keep the connection with the Duke.)

So I decided not to worry about it.

“Please don’t worry. If you eat something delicious, you can forget about nightmares.”

When I smiled and replied like that, both of them looked even more strange… Is it okay?

Chapter 11: Quiet: Lars

“Lars.”

Asher, who was sitting across from the carriage on the way back, brought it up.

“Is that girl really okay?”

Although he is a guard knight, Asher is an old acquaintance from when he was young, and he has been told by Lars that he doesn’t need honorifics.

Everyone is surprised when they meet Lars for the first time, but if he treats them normally, they will get used to it eventually.

“…yeah, I’m worried about her.”

Lars can only give a vague answer.

What Asher is concerned about is the lady they just met.

——Linea, who said that if she eats something delicious, she’ll forget about nightmares and such.

Lars was also concerned.

He doesn’t know the severity of the nightmares, but when he sees her clearly exhausted every day, he can’t help but be worried.

Furthermore, if something like today happened every day, he would be concerned about her mental state.

“If it’s her situation, I think it’s understandable for her to have that kind of reaction. I didn’t think it was that bad because I didn’t see her very often…”

Today’s events have been an eye-opener for Lars, to be honest.

If an unobservant person saw Linea Elvasti at first glance, or only saw her in the aftermath of what happened, they might think she is a very cold, heartless person.

However, Lars and Asher had witnessed Linea and the events around her before.

It’s impossible for a servant carrying a bucket to run up to an aristocrat for no reason.

Usually, when a servant is unable to finish cleaning the hallway on time, they wait for the students to go into another classroom or go home by hiding in the hallway for servants.

Furthermore, it’s strange for a servant to boldly try to speak to someone when there are people around.

The nobles who tried to trip and knock over the servant by kicking their legs had sneering expressions on their faces as they looked at Linea.

Both of their actions were dripping with malice towards Linea.

If she had reached out to them, they probably would have found an excuse to blame her.

It’s better to leave early and be thought of as a cold person than to suffer more.

Lars, who knew that she was disliked, but did not think she was being thoroughly looked down upon and attacked so ruthlessly, was unusually dejected.

When Lars was asked by Asher, “What are you going to do?”, he came to his senses.

“I had heard the rumors. The young lady of the Count Elvasti family is said to be as cruel as her father… and is disliked.”

Lars, who had not been involved with her, listened in.

There were actually suspicions about the Count Elvasti family, so I didn’t feel like getting too close.

But I thought the young lady was not so bad when I gave her uncle some sweets.

――She seemed to have been very lonely since her mother passed away early.

When I visit, she is very happy to see me.

The Viscount said this about the person to whom he gave the sweets.

Lars, who asked out of curiosity, was surprised to find out who his niece was.

It was Linea Elvasti, who was rumored to be a daughter with a bad personality like her father.

However, it is not uncommon for the reality and rumors to be different.

So Lars thought that what his family said was probably correct, and he didn’t particularly mind talking to her.

“I would like to ask for your cooperation in the future, but it would be inconvenient if you can’t come to the Academy…”

“I’m worried about her, but it’s difficult for even Lars to openly deal with the Count Elvasti family.

Depending on the situation, it becomes harder to obtain the sacred flowers.

Now, the trade of sacred flowers and confections is also a big business for the Duke Svald family. It’s not just in this country, but they also trade with other countries. It would be turning things upside down to let the business fail and make the subjects suffer.

Asher mutters.

“If she could somehow manage to ask for help from this side… did you promise to continue to pass on the confections just for that purpose?”

In order to maintain a connection with her in some form.

Lars gave a bitter smile.

“I hope this will be helpful for her… but it’s frustrating that we can’t arbitrarily protect her, no matter how pitiful she is.”

It’s clear that if we just made a promise with her and protected her by taking her to a distant place away from the public, we would be accused of abducting her.

At least it would be easier to protect her if she ran away on her own.

In a situation like this with the young lady, it is possible to take a leave of absence from the Academy using Lars’s connections.

However, for a noble’s daughter to take a leave of absence without graduating from the Academy would cause a small stain on the family’s honor.

It’s not clear whether Linea would agree to that.

Already being avoided by others just because she is the daughter of the Count Elvasti family, it would be difficult for her to get a normal marriage if she doesn’t graduate from the Academy.

Unless Linea herself says it’s okay, if we forcibly intervene it would just be a nuisance.

“I guess the best we can do is to keep our hands to ourselves.”

Until Linea can make a firm decision.

Or until Linea realizes she can use her connection with Lars as a turning point in this situation.

Asher sighs after hearing the answer.

“I wish she could make the decision to escape earlier…”

“Like you?”

Asher makes an unpleasant face in response to Lars’s question.

“That has nothing to do with me. But I just thought it would be good if somehow, something could be done while someone like you, Lars, is reaching out. I don’t want to see something like that happen.”

To that, Lars smiles.

Chapter 12: I obtained the book of fate

Duke Svald didn’t dislike me, he promised to give me new sweets.

I was secretly pleased by this, but kept a straight face and rushed to my carriage.

“Welcome back, My Lady.”

Katie, who was waiting in front of the carriage, bowed slightly with a slightly uncomfortable expression on her face.

This was probably because of the stares that were directed at her. When other servants came to pick me up, they would sometimes give me a brief, unhappy look, as if to say that their efforts would never be rewarded, and then look away.

Katie must be kind-hearted.

…I feel sorry for her and want to give her the skill to not be bothered by the negative comments of those around her. I have no idea how to do that, though…

I quickly got into the carriage and headed to the bookstore, where I waited in the carriage while Katie went inside to buy the book.

“…”

While I waited, I was nervous.

Could it be true that the book would tell me what I see in my dreams?

What kind of existence is the female villain of the story?

“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.”

When Katie returned, she immediately handed me a beautiful bag filled with a book as she got into the carriage.

“It’s quite thick.”

“Even so, it is written in an easy-to-understand way for the common people, and the letters are large, so you can read it right away, My Lady.”

Katie blushed a little with excitement as if she was happy that I bought the book she recommended.

“There are not many people who read this story yet, are there?”

“There are quite a few. Many common people are not good at reading.”

“I see.”

It takes time and is expensive to produce a book, so it is common for common people to borrow and read them in the form of a rental library. However, there are few people who read in general.

Katie has enough education to read and write, so she is my chambermaid.

(In the dream, it was called a play… so it became a play and this story became known to many people)

If this story was exactly as in the dream… but.

“What is the most interesting part?”

When I asked where the climax of the story was, Katie smiled with her face full.

“Is it when the protagonist sweeps away the enemy on the battlefield?”

It seems that Katie seeks more excitement in stories than romance.

While thinking “I see,” I realize… The protagonist of this story will be a girl called the “Maiden of Salvation.” —— If my dream is correct, it’s that servant, Michelia.

Will I really enjoy reading a story in which she defeats all her enemies, gets married to someone, and becomes happy?

(Perhaps reading this story will be an unbearable ordeal…)

That was what I thought.

After returning home, I spent all day except for my solitary dinner reading the book and somehow managed to finish it late at night.

Exhausted, I collapsed onto the bed.

The parts where Katie said [the excitement increases] were not that difficult.

…There were many scenes that made me feel uncomfortable.

However, I was able to finish reading because of the skill of the story’s writer.

I would have enjoyed reading this book if Michelia’s face had not flashed in my mind when I pictured the protagonist, or if Albert’s face appears in the scene with the noble boy who is her childhood friend.

“In any case, I finished reading it. And if a war or something happens, I think I understand the reason to equate the contents of the play with actual events…”

I mutter to myself while looking at the ceiling alone.

The story goes like this:

The protagonist was living a poor life.

One day, at the nobleman’s mansion where she works, she reunites with someone she used to play with a lot when she was young.

After that, the nobleman starts giving her gifts and treating her kindly, but he is a nobleman and the protagonist is a poor commoner.

Furthermore, the nobleman is engaged to the young lady of the house where the protagonist works.

The protagonist confesses to him, but at the same time tries to break up because they cannot be together.

However, while confessing, the young lady sees them and…

After that, the young lady orders the protagonist to be abandoned in the forest.

However, the people she meets there are from the magician guild.

After being protected, the protagonist’s magical talent is discovered.

Under the guidance of a young magician, the protagonist learns magic.

At the same time, a childhood friend who has been in contact with the protagonist through the guild comes to see her with a stranger.

The childhood friend left home and became a knight to break off his engagement with the young lady.

And the person the childhood friend brought was the prince.

The country was afraid of the sound of war. The neighboring country had created an ancient demon beast and started invading neighboring countries.

The prince visited the magician guild in search of something that could counter this.

While everyone searches for magical literature, the war finally spreads to this country.

At that time, a magic that can finally be countered was discovered. The sacred flower necessary for it also appears in the protagonist’s hometown.

Furthermore, it turns out that the nobleman who took over the protagonist’s hometown is connected to the neighboring country and took over the sacred flower in order to make the invasion of the neighboring country a success.

The protagonists secretly enter their hometown and safely obtain the sacred flower.

And only the protagonist was able to use the special magic.

On the battlefield, the protagonist, who returned the monsters to nothing, was called the Maiden of Salvation.

And they won the battle against the neighboring country, captured the noble lady who had fled to the neighboring country, and happily solved the problem.

“In other words, my position is to be called villainess because of the appearance of the character who appears in the latter half of the story?”

A role that becomes called [villainess] by a character who appears in the latter half of the story.

“Certainly, there are some similarities with what happened in the dream.”

The protagonist is Michelia.

The noble childhood friend is Albert.

And the fiance is me.

Thinking about the dream, it turns out that Michelia becomes able to use magic and leads the war to victory.

In the dream, my father was in contact with the neighboring country, and I moved there in the form of studying abroad.

This is also almost the same.

However, I was not actively involved with Michelia, and the only reason I moved there was because the Academy was too hard for me.

“I don’t want to admit it… but maybe it’s inevitable to be told the same thing.”

From the side.

And if I spread the rumor that Michelia and others, who did not listen to my opinion, were actively attacking Michelia, it would definitely be the same as this story.

No, that’s not the problem.

“Is that dream really seeing the future?”

Whispering to myself, I shuddered.

Chapter 13: The further I looked into the dream

It’s unbelievable that such a future is waiting for me.

I hate it.

“Well, not yet. There is not enough evidence that it will become a true dream. Besides, I have blocking skills.

Thanks to that, my life at the Academy has become more comfortable than a few days ago.

Moreover, I have also started to interact with Lars.

“But…”

If I were invited to study abroad in the neighboring country, I might have gone.

“No. Now I understand that it is dangerous. But there is a problem.”

Michelia will probably hate me, who is the fiance with a bad reputation of her lover.

Albert also hates me just because he did not break the engagement for the sake of the family.

If something similar to the story happens, I will definitely be portrayed as the villainess.

Even if I do nothing, I will inevitably be judged to be doing something wrong simply because my father has connections with the neighboring country.

“I can’t do anything about Father…”

I don’t understand that cold father very well either.

He doesn’t even tell me where he’s going or whether he’ll be absent tomorrow when I ask the butler.

“And while the butler shows me some concern, he is very strict with others. There was even a time when I was confined to my room after it was discovered that I had approached my father’s study.

All matters concerning my father’s territory are delegated to those who have been dispatched.

In the first place, a noble young lady should not be concerned about such things.

In the event of an emergency, I am told to rely on the butler and other relatives who have served until then and somehow manage as a substitute for my husband…

Basically, I don’t receive any guidance on managing the territory at all.

As a result, I don’t know much about the territory and I don’t know who my father is related to.

Furthermore, my father never takes me with him to socialize, so I don’t know much about his social connections either.

There are people who visit, so I know some people through that, but…

Even in a story that depicted a situation close to a dream, the character corresponding to my father was cautious.

The only trace of conspiracy in the house is the placement of chess pieces in my room. In the story, my father moved the pieces as he imagined in his mind.

Come to think of it, chess was always placed in my father’s private room that I saw once. Remembering that makes me shudder.

The character in the story who is the father burned dangerous documents and did not keep necessary documents in the mansion.

Even though the protagonist searched for evidence, there was only one sentence written that the house where he hid it burned down with the manager.

Furthermore, the reason for committing such crimes remains unknown…

“The only thing we can do is investigate whether a special sacred flower appears on the territory where Michelia’s birthplace was.”

If something like a story really happened.

“No, I have not dreamed about that part yet.”

I’m planning to eat flower confectionery and dream again today, so it would be nice if I find out something different about it…

If it is different, is it only because Michelia’s father, um… and I, in turn, resent me for taking away her childhood friend?

I don’t know if the nightmares are keeping me from getting a good night’s sleep, but I’m feeling a bit queasy thinking that I won’t be able to sleep soundly again today. But it can’t be helped.

I’ll act early and keep my distance from strange things.

I took out flower confectionery before going to bed.

“Please tell me if this book is indeed the story itself related to my nightmare.”

I don’t believe in God.

But I believed in the power of magic that exists.

I made a wish on that magic and ate a flower petal.

※※※

That day, I watched a dream knowing that it was a dream.

“You’ve suffered a lot… I’m very sorry for not noticing. It must have been very painful for you.”

The person who said this, knelt in front of me, sitting on a chair.

He is older than me. He has golden brown hair, wide shoulders with a sturdy body, and a warrior-like face with amber eyes… At first, I remembered being afraid of this person.

Somehow, his eyes seemed to be looking for prey like a hawk.

He wears a soft green coat that is different from his usual attire, and a gray garment with many noble embroideries.

Just that made me feel a little relieved.

I think the previous me didn’t have much contact with such people, so I wasn’t used to it.

Now, I feel that the person who shows such sympathy is a very good person.

“I’m happy that you say that. You are a kind person, General.”

The amber eyes narrowed softly.

“I’m just an ordinary person. It’s just that my surroundings were not good. But it’s okay. It’s different here in the Leoguard kingdom. There are no humans who hold grudges against your father. And there are also no people who know about your pitiful circumstances. You can start anew. So let’s go together.”

“…Understood.”

A hand was extended to me.

I took the general’s hand and stood up.

At this time, I was wearing a light gray dress with silver beads and pearls sewn onto it.

I had been invited to a party and it was this generous general, but I didn’t feel like going so I had them make me a plain-colored dress.

But the finished product was a beautiful dress that looked silver from a distance.

I was afraid of standing out and on the day of the event, I was feeling down, but the general himself convinced me to come.

The general who took the carriage with me sat next to me and urged me.

“Come on, tell me more about your homeland. Miss Linea. And what was the name of the daughter who stole your fiance?”

Chapter 14: Welcome, Mr. Certain Material

“…”

I woke up without screaming today.

Light is coming through the gap in the curtains in the room.

“…It’s already morning.”

I got up from the bed, rubbing my neck and opened the curtains.

Soft morning light was pouring down on the small garden, plants, and the brick wall of the neighboring mansion.

Taking a deep breath, I brushed the hair off my cheeks.

“I’m still connected…”

It was related to a previous dream.

It was me, as I was captured and screaming, telling the neighboring country’s general about Michelia.

Leaving aside whether it will come true or not, there are some inexplicable points.

“I haven’t met the general… have I?”

Even if there are visitors to this mansion, I rarely meet them. Father doesn’t introduce me, and there are no visitors who want to meet me.

“Or am I going to meet them…?”

I hope not.

I’m curious, but it’s just a dream. I’ve found stories with similar situations, but they’re not exactly the same.

“That’s right. If this dream breaks off, I could have heard about that story by chance and had a nightmare by fitting it into this situation…”

That’s more natural.

I have never heard that magic has the power to see the future.

“Rather than that, you should think about how to live well using your own skills.”

Although I was caught up in a nightmare, that is not my problem.

This house with a bad environment.

An indifferent father.

Due to my father’s actions… I don’t know if I really fell into it, but the situation of being hated by the people around me and not being able to breathe.

Until now, I have given up on the fact that I can do nothing about it.

If I were still myself, I would think that I would do the same if I ended up in the same situation as I saw in the nightmare.

“There is nothing to be done. It is difficult to live alone.”

A highborn girl who’s never even shopped by herself will end up destitute and without food.

It’s wrong to expect a kind man to hire you when you’re wandering the streets. I will definitely be caught by someone and sold off first.

Even if I jump into the common people, I can’t think of any job that I can do. Even if I can do some embroidery or sewing, my skills do not reach the level of those who are using it as a profession.

What I can do is use my knowledge.

The typical occupation that a noble woman can do is a governess.

“But it won’t work in this country. None of the nobles will hire me because they don’t want anything to do with my father.”

Surely even my father would come to bring me back if he heard that his daughter was working as a servant in someone else’s house.

After that, I may be confined to prevent me from doing something strange.

“If you want a job, you’ll have to go abroad.”

Going to a foreign country where my reputation has not reached and where I have some money and a job referral is the best thing.

Even if I thought about it before, I didn’t feel like I could go abroad safely. After all, there is a risk of being attacked by thieves on the way.

There is still a small risk of being attacked by demon beasts, which do exist to some extent.

But now I have a skill.

If I can keep people away, I can probably cut through with my skill even if I get caught up with outlaws.

“The problem is a referral.”

If there is someone who can introduce me as a governess to a foreign noble, I would like to ask Duke Svald eventually.

“I will listen to his request a few times and it would be best if I could consult with him. Since that person also does business with foreign countries, there should be some connections.

I think that continuing the friendship with the Duke is the shortest route to my peaceful and safe life.

“But today is a day off, after all.”

The Academy has a day off once a week.

Since it’s a day off today, I won’t be able to meet Duke Svald Lars either.

“I’ve been feeling a little sleep deprived recently, so I’m thinking of taking a long nap from noon.”

I don’t feel like I slept deeply, whether it’s because of a nightmare or not. When I look in the mirror, my complexion seems to be poor.

Since there are no plans to visit someone’s house, I decided to spend the day lazily.

I took care of my appearance with Katie, who visits every morning, and had a meal.

I was on my way to my room, thinking that I would read that story again and try to write down the differences, when I noticed that there seemed to be visitors coming from the formal dining room on the first floor.

It must be my father’s guest.

I usually avoid him because there’s nothing good that comes out of meeting him, such as being glared at or ignored, but for some reason today I feel like it.

“…Let’s look at their faces and find out their reputation once we know who it is.”

I probably thought that I should be careful with my father’s visitors because I had been having a nightmare and thought that might be my future.

I stayed in the blind spot of the other person, leaning against the wall of the hallway leading to the entrance.

Tall.

There is no doubt a male. He also has a considerable shoulder width.

He’s wearing a hooded cloak as if to hide his face, but he took it off and handed it to the servant who greeted him when he entered the building.

“…Eh.”

I couldn’t close my mouth that I had opened.

Then I stared at the side of the person’s face, as if a hole would open.

——It was the same face I saw in the morning in my dream.

Chapter 15: Since there’s no other way, let’s do it

“It’s the nightmare after all!”

Without shouting, I returned to the room and yelled as I fell on the bed.

However, since I yelled with my face pressed against the bedding, it probably looks like I’m just yelling incoherent words to those around me.

There is no worry that the content of the words will leak and be heard even if a servant passes by nearby.

I yelled for a moment and calmed down, then sat up.

“That’s right. There is a problem.”

Even if the nightmare was about the future, I still thought there was still time.

“Is the situation going to move soon?”

If that happens, I might be taken to a neighboring country.

“Even if I have the Block Skill, what can I do if I run away… hm? Skill?”

I consider the idea that suddenly popped into my head.

It’s a little scary to die socially… but it’s still better than really dying.

I know that my position is very fortunate in terms of living.

You can see from the servants that the common people don’t have such an easy life.

Katie and the others live a life where they cannot find a single moment of leisure from morning to night, but they have no intention of quitting because their salary is better than others.

I heard from rumor that there are even worse working environments.

In some cases, I have to be abandoned and live as a commoner.

Whether I, who was raised as a young lady, can endure it…

“But if this continues, I will die.”

Closing my eyes and weighing my feelings on the scale…

I decided.

…That day, I gave up on taking a nap and took action.

First, go out to the garden while there are visitors.

Secretly.

And then loudly play the violin that I brought out.

“My Lady!”

The servants came out in a panic.

“Please stop. The master is in the room, so at least in the music room…”!

“It will also echo to the next door!”

I blocked the voices trying to persuade me.

Even if it becomes silent, I continue to play more comfortably.

I’m doing it on purpose. Don’t you understand that I know my father hates loud noise?

By the way, I am practicing the most inauspicious funeral song.

I always practice this bad luck song, but I don’t listen to the servants like usual.

When the servants were at their wits’ end, the housekeeper came.

She is a woman in her fifties with a good figure, but her expression is always severe, and she walks around looking for someone’s failure with a plate-like expression.

“My Lady, a guest has arrived at the Master’s place, so please stop the performance.”

I also block the voice of the housekeeper.

Well, I feel very refreshed. It seems that I really disliked this housekeeper. Just not hearing the voice is a very good feeling.

But the housekeeper, who has boiled the business, tapped my shoulder.

I couldn’t ignore it and turned around thinking it was about time. Of course, the performance continued.

I also tried to make it possible to hear what she was saying.

“Please stop the performance! The Master will get angry!”

The housekeeper shouted in a louder voice than the violin, perhaps because she thought I couldn’t hear her well.

Of course, I ignored her neatly and blocked the voice again.

Then, pretending to be absent-minded, I continued the performance.

The housekeeper, who looked angry at me angrily and her face turned a little pale.

Oh, now I somehow understand the words she just muttered.

You didn’t… You said that, didn’t you?

The housekeeper began to complain to the house manager who rushed over.

Eventually, the butler came to me and grabbed my right arm, which was holding the strings to stop the performance. Reluctantly, I stopped the performance.

“Did you ignore the housekeeper? My Lady. It seems that she told you to stop playing because there was a guest at the Master’s place.”

Smiling awkwardly and tilting my head, I said to the butler, “Did the housekeeper say that? I thought I couldn’t hear her voice because it was so small.”

Suddenly, the housekeeper shouted something.

Since I can’t hear it, I look at the housekeeper curiously and say,

“What is this…?”

The butler wrinkled his cheek as if he had received a shock.

“No way, My Lady. Can’t you hear the housekeeper’s voice?”

“It was like she couldn’t even hear us earlier!”

“But it seems she understands the butler’s words?”

Surprised servants. When I made the servants’ voices audible again, they were talking about similar things.

I will continue not to hear the housekeeper’s words.

While it was noisy, there was movement behind the servants.

Appearing in the center of those who moved away from my side was a person with bright brown hair, green eyes, and a mustache, brighter than the hair tied at my neck.

It was my father, Count Elvasti, with a cold expression.

“What happened?”

Although it was a short word, I realized that it had been a long time since I heard my father’s voice.

His voice is said to be like a raspy devil, and I do nod inwardly every time I hear it.

“It seems that My Lady cannot hear the voice of a certain person.”

“Can’t hear?”

The butler hurries and calls the servants to my father’s scowling face.

From the way Katie is approached when she is found, it seems that Katie is being asked to report since when I can’t hear her.

“Ah, in the morning it was as usual. Umm, after that, at lunchtime, you’ll have to ask the servants…”

Even though she is afraid, Katie looks at me worriedly.

I feel a little pain in my heart for making Katie feel this way, but don’t worry, Katie. If everything goes well, I will be gone soon.

The butler began calling other servants.

From what I hear on that side.

“It was as usual at lunch.”

“I’ve been approached in the usual way.”

It seems that the housekeeper shouted something at the two servants who answered trembling. They flinched and shook their shoulders.

Amidst this, my father stepped forward towards me.

(He can’t get within five paces of me.)

My father’s feet stopped as he approached me, using my skill.

“…what is this.”

Whispering, my father glared at me.

I have been afraid of those eyes since I was young. Even if I am not scolded, I can tell that he hates me from those eyes.

I can clearly feel that the servants have the same understanding.

(But why didn’t he give me to some foster family?)

If I am an unnecessary daughter, I can be excluded from the place where I enter his sight. But why didn’t he do that… why?

“If you can hear my voice, answer.”

Without even calling my name, he orders me. Does this person even remember my name?

“I, I don’t know. I don’t understand what’s going on… but I can hear your voice clearly, Father.”

I averted my gaze from my father, who was trembling and acting.

Chapter 16: The result of the cursed performance

I turned my gaze back to my father in order to make it seem as if I wasn’t lying when I suddenly thought of it.

“But I had thought that I had been having trouble hearing recently. I never would have thought that today… I wouldn’t be able to hear the voices of so many people like this… Why only specific people…”

“Since when?”

Ignoring my performance, my father repeats the question.

“It was probably about three days ago… Ah.”

I acted like I had noticed something and raised my voice, covering my mouth. It might have seemed a little forced, but the servants and household officials around me weren’t making strange faces, so I continued.

“Three days ago, I met a strange person in the Academy’s courtyard. After making a strange laughter, their figure disappeared like smoke…”

“A magician?”

“I think it’s been since then. And I’ve also had the feeling that sometimes I can’t hear certain people’s voices.”

Ignoring my father, who interrupted my story in the middle, I confidently said what I had to say. I had to make sure he listened to the end.

“… Is it a curse?”

My father seemed to come to a conclusion quickly, and the servants around us rustle. I also lower my head and say, “Such a…” while covering my mouth with one hand. I force back tears and try not to blink.

“I can’t believe I’m cursed. I don’t know what to do.”

Oh, somehow tears welled up in my eyes. Good.

I heard the voice of the butler saying, “My lord… this won’t do…”

Something or other.

Does this mean I can’t be used as a political pawn as a daughter?

Or is this a dream-like proposal that I have to cancel my engagement as well?

It’s a wonderful proposal for me.

After all, I’m pretending to be [suddenly cursed one day] while pretending to be unrelated to my father and expecting my engagement to be cancelled.

The important thing is to not get close to my father.

If I’m in that condition, he can’t take his daughter to official events.

And to make sure my father doesn’t have contact with me, I tried to produce an abnormal situation where there are several people I can’t hear.

This way I won’t be allowed to go to the Academy, and I won’t be able to be left alone.

There is some anxiety that I might be discarded as useless if I make one wrong step…

But the person who tried to destroy this country through the neighboring country is not normal. I must not think of them as having the same sense as ordinary nobles. That’s why I’m cautious there.

If it’s just about running away, it’s possible.

Because I have the Block Skill!

Even if someone points a sword at me, no one can approach me. At worst, I will either run to Lars-sama with the people surrounding me at regular intervals or run to Oji-sama.

If the situation is that strange, I think Lars-sama will help me at least once out of interest.

If I talk about the skill, if things go well, I may be hired as a skilled person somewhere and introduced to a place to work, or I may be entrusted to the temple as a rare skill.

(In that case, my personal safety can be secured at least.)

In exchange, I will lose my freedom.

First of all, I probably won’t be able to go out freely.

Even my social relationships may be restricted.

However, since I will have no communication with my father at all, I think the possibility of being forced to sit next to a neighboring country that attacks with my father’s guidance is low.

(At least it’s a way to not die, so I wanted to keep the skill a secret if possible…)

That’s why I’m still pretending it’s a curse now.

If it’s found out that this is because of the skill…

(I’m sure I’ll be used for war. I was just sent to a neighboring country in the form of studying abroad because I didn’t have any power. If I’m not careful, I’ll be pulled onto the battlefield.)

Even if I become a temple-bound person, or even if I ask for help from Lars-sama, the fear of revealing my skills will come along. But I am afraid that my father will actively use me.

What will that father do with his cursed daughter?

Will his enemies think that I was cursed from the situation where only I couldn’t approach?

(You may believe in the curse… I have heard rumors of a magician’s curse)

If it’s true that someone is plotting against us, my father may have used the magician’s power at least once.

I hear that freelance magicians who are not affiliated with the guild earn money by lending their hands in such directions.

Let’s see what happens.

As I watched my father’s movements attentively, my father eventually gave instructions to the house butler.

After that, my father turned his eyes on me as if he were watching someone else’s trouble, and then quickly retreated into the house.

Well, it was the most peaceful way of leaving the room as I had imagined, but what kind of conclusion was reached?

While waiting with a face full of confusion and anxiety, the butler said to me,

“My Lady, please be careful in your room today. And tomorrow, please move to another mansion.”

“Another mansion?”

“I will inform you tomorrow.”

The butler closed his mouth and that was the end of it.

And as I continued to pretend not to have heard the words of the housekeeper, the butler ordered Katie to take me to my room.

Thinking about the inconvenience in my future life, I answered that I could hear Katie’s voice and decided to follow her.

But where will I be taken tomorrow …

I decided to return to my room obediently, though slightly anxious.

No matter how you look at it, I need to pack my luggage.

If worst comes to worst, I can use my skills to escape tomorrow.

Chapter 17: My new home is…

On that day, I finished packing my belongings and had nothing left to do.

It’s not that there was nothing to do, but the servants who kept coming to watch me made it impossible for me to feel like writing to summarize the gist of what’s been going on.

If I carelessly let something slip and my father found out, it would be terrible.

So first, I tried playing a random song in my room.

I went out to the garden pretending to practice the violin, but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything… I thought.

Out of anxiety and tension, I chose a farewell song.

Ah, I want to quickly say goodbye to my father and this house.

From such a desire, I became passionate about playing the song.

One of the servants who was listening didn’t seem to understand the meaning, but the expression of the butler who came to see what was going on was worried.

But it’s okay. There’s a high possibility that I won’t see this butler again in any form.

But if I continue playing the song, my fingers will start to hurt.

I’m not practicing every day like a musician, so my fingertips became red from the strings that dug into them.

So I opened a book that was like a prophecy for me and decided to read it again if I wanted to continue the story

As I was doing this, it became dinnertime, and after eating, Katie watches.

“My Lady, are you all right?”

She cares for me kindly.

I feel like crying. If God sent Katie to me because he wanted to put at least one kind human being by my side as a reward for my good deeds so far… It’s okay to believe in God.

“I’m fine. I don’t hate leaving this house. If I can spend it peacefully, I’m happy enough.”

That’s why I blurted out my true feelings.

“My Lady…”

“So don’t worry about it, Katie. I’m happy.”

After smiling, Katie looked like she was about to cry… I didn’t understand it at the time, but I realized later.

“It was like a heroine enduring tragically in a tragedy.”

A self-mocking smile floats up.

It doesn’t suit me at all. I think so, but Katie probably took it that way.

I was a little sorry.

The next morning.

The butler came after breakfast.

I thought that since he had also allowed me to have a meal that day, he wouldn’t transfer me to a place that was so terrible, but I waited for the butler’s words.

The butler told me with a blank expression.

“The preparation for the villa is complete, so please prepare for your outing.”

“Which villa has been decided?”

“A carriage for luggage is also ready, so please make sure you don’t forget anything in your room.”

As always, the butler leaves without answering my question.

Sighing, I ask the three servants, including Katie who was there.

“I’d like to change my clothes.”

The luggage is the one that was gathered yesterday, so it’s fine to take it along.

Even though it’s called a villa, there are many in distant territories and the capital. I don’t know where I plan to go, but I changed into a dress and shoes for going out.

Then I get on the carriage that was prepared.

Katie and the butler follow me. The butler rides in the carriage for luggage, but Katie accompanies me in my carriage.

Katie looks pale, so I think maybe and ask in the carriage that has started moving.

“Katie…are you saying that you are going to move to a villa with me?”

“Yes…that’s how it is. I was ordered suddenly this morning…”

If you’re forced to move from the main house with the cursed daughter…you’ll be worried about what happens next.

“I’m sorry, Katie. you were just my chambermaid, and yet I’ve already dragged you into this…”

I’m the one who dragged you into this.

I thought I would be confined to a separate mansion or somewhere else alone, but I didn’t expect that she would also go along as an attendant.

To my apology, Katie somehow forced a smile and shook her head.

“My Lady doesn’t have to worry. It seems that the butler won’t follow us to our destination. In that case, I’ll be able to relax without getting scolded.”

“Katie… If something unforeseen happens, I’ll write a letter of introduction to another house for you. If I ask Oji-sama, he’ll surely find a way to help you out.”

Oji-sama is kind. If he can’t hire her at his place, he’ll certainly arrange for her to be hired elsewhere.

“Thank you, My Lady.”

Katie must have been worried about the future. I felt that her tense cheeks relaxed.

“… So, does Katie know which separate mansion we’re going to?”

Katie nods.

“Yes, I heard it’s a separate mansion on the west side of the capital.”

“Ah, I see…”

There is indeed a small separate mansion on the west side of the capital.

The mansion is a small house with a small garden and a two-story brick house.

I have only briefly seen it, but I have never entered it.

It is also rumored to be a place where my father temporarily housed a mistress in the past.

(It is a place where there are many poor people’s homes nearby. It is a somewhat unsafe place, but it may be better to be away from a place where noble houses stand.)

It seemed like a good place to temporarily keep a cursed daughter.

Chapter 18: Why isn’t the engagement broken?

It only takes an hour to travel through the capital, and if you run a carriage for an hour, you will arrive at your destination.

The destination was a house surrounded by a brick wall.

When I got off the carriage that stopped in front of the gate, people who seemed to be local residents wearing clothes that did not seem very wealthy were looking at me.

I enter the triangular roof house because the butler who entered the gate first is looking back with a worried expression.

(Is the size about the same as the merchant’s house I saw when?)

There is a kitchen and bathroom, a living room and a dining room on the first floor, but there are only a few rooms for servants on the second floor. The rest are small rooms on the same floor that are probably for servants.

The butler instructed the servants to carry in my luggage and handed me a paper when the arrangement of the furniture was finished.

I guess he still can’t talk to me.

The contents are written briefly with the transmitted items.

・You will live here from today.

・The master will investigate the curse.

・You must not return home until you are given permission.

・Prohibited to go to the Academy due to illness.

・Regarding meals and cleaning, maids will come on a regular basis.

・The cost of clothing and other miscellaneous items will be paid to the Count’s family, and the necessary money will be delivered regularly by the butler from the main house. First, I will entrust this month’s amount to Katie.

“I understand.”

When I answered, the butler bowed and left the house.

Watching his back, the door closed…

I realized this at this time.

“Even if it’s good that I don’t have to go to the Academy, won’t the engagement be cancelled?”

Oh, if I continue the engagement while cursed, won’t Albert hate me even more when he hears about this? Troublesome!

“Wait a minute, butler! Won’t you inform the fiance about this?!”

I chased after him, but I couldn’t [for some reason] hear the housekeeper’s voice, so I wondered what to do.

“…”

The housekeeper, who stopped his feet just before getting on the carriage, returned to me and said something to Katie, who followed me.

And Katie told me.

“If It was known that My Lady was cursed, it was not good for the Count family to maintain the engagement while searching for a way to lift the curse.”

It was the most reasonable thing to do.

If the engagement were dissolved and the cause was investigated, it would damage the family name if it were known that I was cursed.

(But with so many black rumors about the unpopular Count family, who cares about the family name?)

I couldn’t help but laugh inside.

But for now, my father prioritized the Count family name as necessary. So, rather than placing me, who could potentially undermine the name, in the main house where there are many visitors, I was hidden here.

(So there’s a chance they’ll fake my illness and keep me here forever?)

When the engagement is no longer necessary, will it be dissolved? I don’t want to wait for that.

But fortunately, I don’t have to go back to the Academy anymore. Thanks to that, I can also cut ties with Michelia.

…I feel relieved.

But this doesn’t solve all the problems.

Personally, I had hoped to be either entrusted to the temple as a cursed daughter or abandoned in the countryside, but that didn’t happen.

As things are, I may eventually be taken to a neighboring country under the pretext of medical treatment… It is also possible that the situation could become like in the dream.

(After all, the only option may be to become a commoner. Let’s pretend to be dead (ill). If I do that, the engagement will automatically be cancelled. In that sense, this environment is not particularly bad.)

There is no surveillance. Katie is the only one following me.

Stealing glances at the life of a commoner and… just working. I think I can do something if I use my skills.

I couldn’t help but smile as I saw a silver lining.

On that day, a woman who said she was hired from lunchtime came.

“Ara, how sweet, My Lady.”

Despite saying that cheerfully, the woman, who was probably twice my age, seemed to think I was the mistress of some noble.

While I was having lunch, Katie seems to have been dragged into her conversation and was being questioned endlessly.

“For now, I asked to have it changed, so please bear with me for a few days if you are asked anything.”

Katie placed a glass of water in front of me apologetically.

“Also, the content of the meal… I’m sorry it’s so humble…”

Katie seemed to be worried and said that.

But for me, the meal today was more delicious than the luxurious feast.

The brown bread was not as sweet as the usual white bread, and the soup with dried meat, not salad, but vegetables with boiled eggs, was the menu for today.

It was pretty folksy and I was a little nervous before I ate.

But I decided to become a commoner, so I tried to eat it with all my might… somehow, although I knew the taste was not so great, I felt it was very delicious.

It must be because I was able to leave that mansion.

“Don’t worry. I’m fine with this kind of meal all the time.”

When I replied, Katie had a stern expression and said “What?!”

In this way, the moving day ended, and I lay down on a simple bed without a canopy to catch my breath.

The walls are also simple white plaster walls.

The room may be about half the size of before.

Even so, I felt like I could sleep comfortably and stretch today.

I can’t help but think that it would have been impossible without the Block Skill.

“With this, I can live peacefully for a little while… Thank you, Oji-sama, for giving me the sweets. And thank you, Lars-sama, for making them.

Before falling asleep, I was thinking that I had to somehow send a letter to Lars-sama as a token of my appreciation.

It is highly likely that I will not be able to go to the Academy anymore.

If that is the case, I need to find another way to contact him… because I won’t be able to receive sweets otherwise.

Chapter 19: The unexpected suddenly comes

I didn’t have a nightmare.

Come to think of it, I slept without eating sweets for the first time in a while.

But I feel like there is a sweet taste in my mouth.

As I savor the sweet sensation that makes me feel happy in my mouth, I open my eyes.

Then Katie, who seemed to have been waiting nearby, her eyes wide and ran over to me.

“My Lady! My Lady, are you okay?!”

“…eh?”

What happened while I was asleep?

In front of me, who doesn’t understand, Katie appeals with tears in her eyes.

“My Lady has not awakened all day yesterday! Even when I asked to call a doctor to the mansion, no one came and My Lady did not respond to any calls at all! I was wondering what to do… but it’s good that you’re okay. How are you feeling? Is your throat dry?”

Listening to Katie’s words as she begins to care for me worriedly, I nod while being startled.

Uh… why was I still asleep for a day?

“That can’t be true, right?”

“I never lie to My Lady.”

“That’s true… Katie wouldn’t lie.”

She’s not the kind of person who would joke around.

Anyway, it’s certain that my throat is thirsty, so I drink the water that Katie gave me.

After taking a sip, I realized that my throat was abnormally thirsty. After asking for another cup, I finished the second cup and was interrupted by Katie.

“So, My Lady has been unconscious for a whole day. I was waiting here for the doctor who lives nearby to come and see her, but…”

“Did something happen?”

“Before that, someone came to visit.”

Katie’s speech changes slightly.

It’s as if a noble had come to visit.

But my father or uncle wouldn’t need to hide their names.

“Who is it?”

“It’s … Sir Knight.”

“Sir Knight?”

I don’t have any acquaintances who would visit me as a knight … no, wait. I do have one acquaintance.

“Surely not Asher-sama?”

As I say the name, Katie’s expression immediately relaxes. It seems that she was relieved to confirm that he is indeed an acquaintance of mine.

“Yes, that’s him…he just happened to see My Lady moving here.”

“So, what brings Asher-sama… or is he still here?”

“Yes. He brought a sweet to wake My Lady up. He wants to know if it’s effective, so he’s waiting in the reception room.”

“A dessert to wake me up?”

“He had a flower dessert made with sacred flowers.”

“A flower dessert…”

Oh, that’s why my mouth felt sweet when I woke up.

So it was the flower dessert that woke me up?

But why did Asher-sama come to visit this house in the first place…

(I didn’t even tell them where I was.)

It was strange, but it was a good thing I had thought to contact them. And since he came all the way out here to see me, maybe they’ve figured out what the problem is with the flower confections.

(Otherwise, he wouldn’t have brought the flower dessert or come looking for me after I moved.)

Anyway, let’s meet.

I asked Katie for help and quickly got dressed.

But it seems I really slept all day, because my body feels heavier than usual. I can even feel my movements slow down.

“Are you really okay?”

Katie asks me, but I need to listen to Asher-sama’s story now that I’m awake.

“I’m fine. Let’s go.”

When I enter the reception room, Asher stands up to greet me.

“I’m sorry for the disturbance. How are you feeling, Lady Count Elvasti?”

At that greeting, I remember that I forgot to ask Asher-sama to call me by my name.

“Thanks to you, I was able to wake up. Thank you. And please call me Linea.”

“Oh, I see. Understood.”

Asher nods and sits down again at my suggestion, and I sit on the sofa across from him.

Katie immediately prepares tea for the two of us and stays in the room.

“I’m sorry, Katie. Could you leave us alone for a while?”

I don’t want Katie to hear the rest of the story yet. But Katie seems puzzled.

“Well, it’s not appropriate for My Lady to be alone with a man in a place other than the Academy…”

“It’s okay. In any case, there is no possibility that I will get married, so don’t worry about it.”

Katie still seems puzzled by my response, but eventually she obeys.

Then I turn to Asher-sama.

Chapter 20: Asher-sama at your service

“First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for receiving the sweets. Thank you. I heard from my servant that it was because of them that I woke up. ”

“I’m glad to have been able to help.”

Asher-sama nods.

“But why did you come to me? And I didn’t even inform you of my whereabouts, yet you managed to find me here.”

The fact that I have been sleeping for a long time is a concern, but let’s first resolve this question.

Thinking that, I ask, and Asher answers as if it’s nothing.

“Miss Linea, someone who ate sweets made with the same sacred flower experienced an anomaly.”

“…!”

An anomaly!? That means.

“Did someone start having nightmares?”

When I ask, Asher turns a searching gaze towards me.

“Nightmares… I’m not sure if that’s the right word. More importantly, are your dreams really nightmares? I came to check that… and depending on the contents of the nightmare, I may have to erase it. I received these sweets from Lars for that purpose.”

Then he took a wooden box out of his pocket.

Asher opened the lid and revealed a confectionery flower inside.

A sugar confectionery flower that sparkled with glittering sugar powder and was golden in color.

Each of the five petals fluttered and created a soft curve like a camellia flower.

How delicious… As I remembered the sweetness I felt this morning and felt my saliva start to flow, I turned my gaze from the confectionery back to Asher-sama.

“If I eat this confectionery flower, does it mean I’ll wake up from a dream?”

“No, it cancels out the effect if you eat a dark-attribute confectionery before.”

“Cancels out the effect…”

“I thought I’d give it to you and was looking for where you were, but the you I found was still sleeping and suffering from a nightmare. In any case, it’s good that this confectionery was able to help.”

I inwardly tilt my head at Asher-sama’s words.

I didn’t eat the confectionery flower the day before yesterday when I fell asleep.

(But if I woke up with the confectionery flower that Asher-sama brought… does that mean it was the influence of the sacred flower mixed in the confectionery?)

I feel a little chill down my spine.

If I continue to eat the flower sweets I have, will I fall asleep?

“First, I will give you this. If there is no problem tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, it is fine, but use it if necessary.”

“I understand. Thank you very much.”

I received it obediently.

I think it is bad to fall asleep as expected.

“So what did the others dream about? Did they see something scary and get scared?”

When I ask that, Asher-sama answers with difficulty.

“I don’t want you to think I’m crazy when you hear this… No, even Lars. He just wants to study the sacred flower. In the process, only some strange things happen…”

I strike a punch to Asher-sama’s circuitous words.

When I waited for the next words, Asher-sama’s expression became one of utter dislike.

“Actually… the three people who ate the same sacred flower sweets… one of them is Lars-sama. It seems that he saw something that can only be thought of as a scene that may occur in the future.”

“The future…?”

I swallowed the words that I had almost said out loud.

Did someone else see the future too?! So the dream I saw was also some kind of prophecy of the future, wasn’t it!

And that’s why I understood Asher-sama’s words.

(…it’s definitely difficult to tell other people that you’ve seen the future!)

Usually, the people who use those words are either sleazy fortune-tellers or founders of new religions.

Basically, what they want is money.

Or… truly, people who have been affected by some strange magic and start talking about things that are impossible in reality…

Either way, they are no different from suspicious people.

Asher-sama probably prefaced this because he didn’t want to be seen as the same kind of person, and I hesitated to immediately agree.

(I don’t have the courage to shout, “I’m also a person whose head has gone crazy!” because, who knows, maybe they started talking about [seeing the future] as a way to make fun of me and belittle me…)

I know the possibility of that is very low, and I don’t think Asher-sama would go so far as to use expensive sweets just to do something like that.

But as someone who has constantly been ridiculed by those around me, it’s difficult for me to believe it right away.

At least, I need to confirm whether he really saw the future in his dream.

I say to Asher-sama, who is waiting for my reaction.

“If that’s about the future… how was it confirmed?”

“First of all, because it was a future in which the things seen in the dream could happen, and also because detailed dreams are often related to magic, Lars and the others concluded that it was something seen under the influence of magic.”

“And?”

At my urging, Asher-sama looks down a little.

“Lars’s dream wasn’t a nightmare. It was a dream about researching a new type of sacred flower… In that dream, he remembered in detail that this country was almost invaded by other countries, and that your father led those other countries.”

Lars-sama… saw a dream that’s in the same timeline as mine?!

I was about to scream again, but once again I managed to swallow my words just in time.

My stomach is starting to feel heavy…

Chapter 21: Asher-sama’s pursuit

“However.”

Asher-sama continued.

“Others have seen a different dream.”

“A different… dream?”

While nodding at him, I wait for him to continue.

“That person said that the country remained unchanged. And it was a dream of studying the new sacred flower like Lars. What kind of nightmare did you see?”

I fall silent at the question.

(I have to think carefully)

I consider his question without answering immediately.

If this is indeed a dream of the future as Lars-sama and the others say, does this mean there are two possible futures?

It feels like the result of a choice, where one or the other becomes the future…

And for me, I have now obtained evidence that another nightmare is a glimpse of the future.

(Details of dreams are often related to magic. So if it is true that I saw a glimpse of the future as Lord Lars and the others think, then the future in which I am imprisoned is certain… or so it seems)

Perhaps it was not a bad thing to have moved further away from my father after all.

(Also, Asher-sama may want to compare answers as material for considering dreams)

That’s why you didn’t go to school on purpose, and you came to look for me, right?

Thanks to that, I woke up from a long sleep, but…

(Should I be honest, or not?)

I want to reveal everything and ask for help.

I want to rely on them right now. But the problem is Lars-sama’s dream.

…he will suspect my father as a traitor to the country.

Will he also suspect that I, his daughter, am somehow involved in some form? Will Lars-sama listen fairly to the words of someone who has such doubts?

(Although it has to do with sweets, if it’s a political conversation, it’s another matter. As a result, if Michelia, who became a Maiden of Salvation, made up something about me as a criminal, he would not protect me. I shouldn’t trust him too much.)

But how should I say it?

Asher-sama whispered to me, who was struggling.

“What are you worried about?”

“Huh?”

Asher-sama narrows his purple eyes and looks at me.

“I’ve been wondering for a long time…”

“Huh?”

“About your actions.”

“Actions?”

I was slightly surprised when I was told [I’ve been wondering] for a moment, but what does he mean by actions?

“Why are you so afraid? You weren’t like that before. It’s just that you were just hostile to everything.”

I felt as if I had been stabbed in the heart.

Fear.

It has always been in my heart since I began having that nightmare.

But this is a feeling that I want to hide. It must not be known. That’s why my caution towards Asher-sama welled up.

“Fear? More than that, I’m sure you wouldn’t laugh at my story and say it’s just a fairy tale, would you, Asher-sama?”

Caution turns into a small rebellion.

Asher-sama didn’t pursue the matter any further at my slightly quarrelsome words.

“Of course not. I heard that seeing the future with magic is rare. That’s why I wanted to confirm your story.”

“I see. I understand that you wanted to use it as one piece of evidence. And… you even gave me the flower confectionery to wake me up. I will tell you my story.”

I already owe Asher-sama and the others.

If I had stayed asleep, I would have died in just a few days.

For a moment, I thought that wasn’t so bad.

So I modified my own nightmare and told it.

“The dream I see is the dream of people dying on the battlefield.”

“War…”

Asher-sama mutters and closes his eyes as if he is thinking.

“If this is dreaming about the future… something like a war might happen, right?”

“There is a possibility. If that’s the case… it seems similar to Lars’s dream.”

“Maybe that’s it.”

While thinking of it as someone else’s business, I nodded slightly with my face down.

Because the content of the dream I mentioned was a lie. I haven’t seen anything about the battlefield.

“…It must have been terrifying.”

“…?”

I was about to ask what he meant and closed my mouth.

“It is often the case that noble women have no connection with the battlefield for their whole lives, unless their country is attacked and destroyed. If a woman who has never held a sword sees a situation where she washes blood with blood, it is undoubtedly a nightmare.”

Asher-sama… cared for me who had a nightmare.

As soon as I understood this, something melts in my heart like a drip.

I don’t know what this is.

Even though I don’t understand well, I thanked him.

“Thank you for your kind consideration. However, if it’s something that isn’t happening in reality, it’s okay.”

At the same time, I wonder if Asher-sama is familiar with the battlefield…

It sounded like the way I saw it, but even though this country has experienced conflict, there has been no war for a long time. Where did such an experience come from?

Chapter 22: I’m still a little out of my depth

“Still, why aren’t you at the Count’s mansion? It would have been more convenient to visit there…”

“I’m afraid I can’t answer that question.”

I smile.

“Oh, I see. Because you didn’t come to the Academy yesterday, we were worried that the sacred flower might have had an effect on you, so I asked your housekeeper about your condition. That’s when I found out that you had been moved from the main house.”

So he came looking for me and visited here.

“I apologize for the trouble… I was planning to send a letter to Lars-sama to let him know my whereabouts, as it seems I won’t be able to go to the Academy anymore.”

“You can’t go to the Academy either? It’s unusual for a noble child of the Kingdom of Lexander not to go to the Academy… Are you physically unwell?”

That’s what one would normally assume.

But, can I mention the curse…

(I had planned to build more trust with Lars-sama before telling him about my skill.)

I hesitate to talk about my skill now. And if I say the reason is a curse, which is suitable for my father, they may avoid exchanging with me, who can only cooperate in the study of sweets.

(Well, do they know about the curse?)

“What did the servants say about my moving here?”

“…That it was because of bad relations with your father.”

I can’t help but smile.

The reason I hesitated for a moment was probably because I thought that if I told the truth, they would be hurt.

(If they think so, It’ll give me a little more time)

I answered with such a wish.

“That’s right. From the beginning, my father seemed to have abandoned me … I think you will understand if Lars-sama asks my uncle. There was a little disagreement with my father. I guess he got tired of me and wanted to get rid of me.”

“But that doesn’t mean you can’t go to the Academy.”

Asher-sama knows that almost all noble children go to the Academy. That’s why he will worry.

If I can’t go to the Academy, I may be thought to have some deficiency that is different from other nobles.

In reality, only those who are too weak to go outside due to illness or those who are too badly behaved to be allowed outside cannot attend.

That’s why I’ve been going to the Academy until now. Because I had no way to leave that house except for getting married.

But now, I’m fine because I have skills.

Rather, I’d like to have my engagement dissolved as soon as possible.

“I am glad for that alone.”

Because it was my true feelings, I was able to smile with a happy feeling.

Because I’m relieved to be able to leave the nobles who attend that Academy.

“So… what do you mean you can’t get married?”

“Yes. My father will tell the Academy that I’m sick or something. Just because of that, I won’t be seen as a marriage partner by others. And if I don’t go to the Academy for a long time, my current fiancé will have no choice but to break off the engagement.”

No matter how much a business connection is desired, it is unlikely that a daughter with a disgraceful rumor will be welcomed as a bride. Albert’s father will also give up on me.

Albert’s father will probably give up on me too.

And Albert will deepen his relationship with Michelia…

(Still, what does that person plan on doing? I can’t imagine her being the Maiden of Salvation. Is he planning on making her his mistress after all?)

Is Michelia okay with that?

If she can have a decent life by stealing my fiancé, will she be satisfied?

It’s not something I’m worried about, but…

(In the first place, if I leave early, will she become the Maiden of Salvation?)

I think I should consider this a little.

If that nightmare becomes a reality, all the more so.

If my father leaks information to the neighboring country and carries out the invasion guide, eventually there will be a war.

What should I do then…

(In the worst case, will I have to leak information about the Maiden of Salvation and the sacred flower to someone?)

In that case, I will be pursued and accused as the daughter of my father.

As I was thinking, Asher-sama said after a moment of thought.

“Does your father not care about his daughter? You won’t be able to live here safely.”

He seems to have been worried about my living environment.

He seems gruff, but is he surprisingly worried? That makes me think he’s a little bit cute.

“It’s okay, I have servants.”

In fact, it is because I have skills, no need to protect me.

First of all, I am fine.

What I should worry about is Katie and the other servants.

Can I protect them with my skills? Should I expand the range?

I am about to consider doing it again, but now it is a matter of talking with Asher-sama.

“If you say so… but be careful. There are many thieves who will enter if they know that there are nobles or wealthy people and the security is weak.”

“Thank you for your concern.”

I said thank you and saw off Asher-sama, saying, “If there is anything to contact again, I will show my face.”

Chapter 23: Let’s have another nightmare

As soon as the visitors leave, there is suddenly nothing to do.

In the first place, the days of a noble young lady are spent changing clothes in the morning, afternoon, and evening, practicing embroidery and music, writing letters to people, and reading books until it is time to go to bed.

It takes too much time to change clothes and prepare, so the day ends like this.

And today, I heard that the moving luggage was not yet finished, so I decided to spend the evening without changing my clothes.

As a result, time was left over.

At the same time, since I had slept all day, my body was not tired and I could feel like walking around the house or going out to the garden.

That’s what I thought when I started embroidering, but…

“My shoulders are sore.”

I don’t like embroidery. I put down the embroidery tools because my shoulders and arms felt heavy.

Then I feel better somehow.

“Yes, it’s okay to be free.”

I don’t have to worry about deviating from what a young lady should do. After all, I’m not going to get married. Embroidery is something that noble women should wear only for the purpose of getting married… That was the only reason I was made to practice it.

In the spare time, I thought about the recent anomaly, taking notes on paper.

“First, when I started having nightmares, Lars-sama and the others were not dreaming.”

I tried to arrange in chronological order the events from the day I had my nightmare.

“The skill manifested the next day.”

And then I started talking with Lars-sama and his group, and although I continued to have nightmares, there was no particular change.

“From the day I was exiled to this mansion…?”

It was around this time that Lars-sama and his group began having strange dreams.

“There were two kinds of dreams. One in which my father aided in the invasion, and one in which he did not.”

Making a note, I mutter to myself.

“Did I…change something by taking action?”

If the future changed…I almost found hope, but I scolded myself.

“No, that’s not necessarily the case. It could just be that I stopped dreaming about the war. And it’s not like I can’t dream the same dream again.”

In conclusion, in order to verify this situation, I need to dream.

I decided to go ahead and do it right away.

First, I called Katie.

“I’m sorry to call you when you’re busy. I’m still feeling tired, so I’m planning to take a nap after lunch. If I don’t wake up by tomorrow morning, have me eat one of this.”

I put the box of sweets that I received from Asher-sama earlier on the shelf by the pillow.

“Understood. But, what should I do if My Lady doesn’t wake up with those sweets?”

It is not surprising that Katie is worried. She asked for a doctor to be called to the mansion, but it was in vain.

(…I wonder if they thought that if I sleep and die, the daughter’s curse would be resolved… Depending on the case, “someone” may have intended to use it as a material to pull down the person “who cursed me” as the perpetrator of a political enemy)

While having such dark thoughts, I quickly wrote a letter in front of Katie and handed it to her.

“Please deliver this to Duke Svald Lars-sama. He will surely do something about it. The knight who came earlier was from Lars-sama’s guard.”

“Is that all? Understood.”

Katie held the letter as if embracing it and nodded.

Well, let’s have a nightmare.

I take out the box of sweets that Oji-sama gave me.

There are still more than half of the beautiful sweets that look like a cut-out of a black and blue night sky. I suddenly decided to eat two of the petals.

“If I woke up normally in the daytime, let’s try to dream again after dinner.”

Then, I took some flower sweets and lay down on the bed.

***

“Take a good look.”

That’s what the person with the sandy hair, who I’ve seen somewhere before, whispers. When his red eyes are turned towards me, I feel paralyzed as if I’m being shot through.

“That’s the path your father chose.”

The person who said this and gave the instructions is walking confidently through the castle.

His hair, a brighter shade of brown than mine, is shorter now, and he doesn’t have a mustache anymore. Additionally, his clothes have changed to those of an unfamiliar foreign country, but there’s no mistaking them.

That’s my father, Count Elvasti.

Even though he is the one who led the invasion himself, I am the one who is chained and restrained like a dog.

He walks with a foreign prince leading the way in front of the disdainful noblemen.

“——the country’s general. Since the foreign prince guarantees his identity under a different name, we can’t lay a hand on him. To abandon his daughter and escape…”

The young man with red eyes laughs deeply in his throat.

“As expected of a parent and child. You’re alike in every dirty way.”

“I am different from my father!”

The young man looked at me scornfully as I shouted hoarsely.

“If you become a nuisance, I’ll throw you away… like you did the same thing to Michelia.”

“That was…!”

What came to mind at that moment was the phrase “It wouldn’t matter if I punished the servant of the commoner who insulted me.”

But before I could say it, the young man declared,

“But, you’re not just discarded and left to end like this, right?”

The young man with red eyes turned to the end of the corridor. There was a person with silver hair shaking down to his shoulders——.

Chapter 24: Is this a normal dream?

Next, I realized that I was walking in complete darkness.

There was no moonlight, and I couldn’t see the road.

But I can still proceed with confidence because each of my hands is held by a different person.

“It’s time to stop.”

With those words, the right hand side becomes bright.

Lars-sama, who holds a white and pale shining flower, is there.

He is smiling at me.

“It’s okay now. There’s no one after you, right? Asher.”

“Yes.”

The voice comes from the left.

I can see that person too.

The person who was holding my hand wrapped in leather gloves was Asher-sama.

He looks at me seriously and says.

“Can you still walk?”

Now that I think about it, my legs felt heavy as if I had been running through the mud.

But the me in the dream didn’t want them to know that.

What comes to mind is that we have been running and protecting me while fighting all this time.

But I don’t want to burden them. That’s why I said “I can walk.”

Lars-sama says “Here, hold this.” and hands me a flower.

As soon as I obediently received it, I was lifted up by Lars-sama as if I was scooped up.

“I can walk! I’m sorry, please let me down, Lars-sama.”

“Please be quiet. Because I don’t want the pursuer to notice with your voice.”

Lars-sama carried me, who had kept quiet as I was told.

Asher-sama moved while keeping an eye on the side.

Soon we found a brighter light at the end of the road than flowers.

***

“…”

I woke up normally today.

However, it is dark outside.

Or rather, it is dark inside the room.

However, since the candle holder has a light, Katie must have come to check the situation and left the light on.

And the fact that no one is with me means that it is currently the night of the day I fell asleep.

I got up with a groan and drank a full glass of water that was prepared in the room.

Then I immediately write down the dream I saw just now in my notebook.

I don’t think I’ll forget it easily, but the details may be missing from memory as time goes by.

“The first dream was… it felt like a continuation.”

I was locked in a cell and was pulled out as if I remembered… my father, who was supposed to be the main culprit, was living proudly under a different name.

I also felt it at the same time.

That person with red eyes was thinking about how to make me despair and hurt myself as much as possible because I couldn’t do anything about it due to my father becoming an important person in another country.

I remember and tightly close my eyes.

It wasn’t a particularly enjoyable dream.

I wasn’t shocked that much because I had been staring at the nightmare for a while and was a little numb.

“The problem is that I couldn’t hear the crucial part of where my father became a person in which country.”

The clothing itself wasn’t that different. It was because this country and the culture of the other country didn’t change much.

I couldn’t see the difference well because it was from a distance.

“…Let’s think about the next dream. Is that perhaps the dream [now] after that one?”

Lars-sama and Asher-sama were also there.

Even though they had no shadow or form in the previous nightmares.

Both of them were somehow running away with me and even caring about the condition of my feet…

Remembering the scene where I was being picked up, I cringe a little.

In my life where I was hated by many people, I only had the opportunity to be picked up and carried when I was young.

“A-Anyway, it wasn’t a nightmare.”

In this case, it’s okay to talk to Lars-sama and the others. There is no need to hide anything, especially since it was just a situation where we were trying to escape together.

“I wonder what we were trying to escape from…”

I feel like It had a purpose.

We were moving without being noticed, but it seems that we were noticed and were in a hurry to move to our destination… or something like that…

“It’s too vague.”

I didn’t know what to write down, so I wrote it down as it was. I’ll correct it when I remember.

I’m hungry, so I check the clock in my room.

It’s seven o’clock at night.

It’s about time for dinner to be called. However, no one comes to call me.

I, who was wondering, put on a gown over my nightclothes and went to look for Katie.

I just wanted to go and see the kitchen, but I didn’t want to call when Katie was busy.

What I saw there was Katie cooking.

“Katie?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. The substitute cook couldn’t make it today, so I was just making soup…”

When I reported the servant who tried to find out the inside story by talking too much, the head of the house promptly fired him and arranged for a new substitute cook.

But it seems that Katie had to somehow take care of today’s dinner because the new chef’s schedule didn’t work out.

It might have been better for Katie if I had slept until morning…

But I woke up, and now that I know the situation, it’s too late.

“That’s fine. Do you have bread?”

“Yes, we receive bread from the main house every day.”

Katie showed me a basket of bread. There was such a large amount that two people couldn’t finish it, so I could see that the main house wasn’t trying to starve me.

(It’s strange, isn’t it? They intended to keep me alive, and even raise me, but only I was caught and put in prison as a criminal… But while my father left a guide to the invasion behind and escaped on his own, he’s living leisurely as an important person in another country)

Why?

Did they try to save me, but it wasn’t in time? Did Michelia and the others catch me faster…?

(No)

I deny my own imagination.

After thinking about it again, I somehow came up with an image.

(I must have been used as bait)

My study abroad to the neighboring country. And my father, who had me caught as a criminal and made time for himself…

I put on a bitter smile, trying not to be seen by Katie, with such an image in my mind.

Chapter 25: I will try to do some commoner training

That night, I slept after eating one more piece of confectionery.

I hope to know something related to the last dream I saw.

But I didn’t see a dream, which is unusual.

I just had this weird feeling of anxiety all the time while I was sleeping.

“Did I see too many nightmares…”

The recent dream was not a nightmare, but I got up thinking that.

It is bright when the night breaks and the light enters through the gap in the curtain.

Thinking that, I went to the window and pulled the curtain, but on the other side of the glass I saw the neighboring houses with black roofs and the cloudy sky.

“Maybe it’ll rain.”

I feel that way from the darkness of the clouds.

By the way, I wonder if Katie is okay… I worried.

At this time, Katie should be able to be here but she’s not. Only the water for washing my face is prepared.

I choose a dress with a color that I can cut by myself for washing my face and quickly prepare myself, then go down to the first floor.

As expected, I only hear the sound of things in the kitchen, so I go there and Katie is making soup again.

“Can I help you with something?”

“Huh?!”

Katie, who thought there was no one there, turned around in surprise and widened her eyes.

“I’m sorry, My Lady! It looks like the cook isn’t here today either…”

“I’m happy that Katie’s soup is delicious. It looks like there’s no problem with the bread either, so don’t worry about the cooking. The ingredients are…here and properly handled.”

Being introduced, I frantically bow.

If you peek into the back of the kitchen, you will see a large basket filled with carrots and potatoes.

“It arrived this morning…there are no problems with the ingredients, but the cook was supposed to come today, but there’s no sign of them.”

As expected, Katie’s dissatisfaction with the absence of the cook continues.

I also think a little.

I don’t want to starve, but I don’t want to treat her as a mere servant…is it really true that they didn’t arrange a cook? Could it be? If that’s the case, there’s no point in blaming Katie.

Katie and I began a simple but casual meal.

Katie’s seasoning is simple, but it goes very well with the food. It’s a comforting taste.

“What about the other servants?”

I asked Katie because I was curious about the people I couldn’t see. Then Katie’s expression became gloomy.

“The three servants who usually come haven’t come today either…so, that’s it.”

“Is the unpacking of the luggage finished? Is the problem the cleaning?”

“…Yes.”

Probably the laundry is also not enough by hand.

And if the three servants are not coming, it means that the house butler has decided that Katie alone should work in this house, or they’re too stingy with their wages…

“Anyway, please go and deliver a letter to the main house.”

First, we need to inform them of the situation and confirm what they plan to do, or we will just have to wait.

I said more to Katie, who nodded.

“I can’t do the laundry because it’s rough on my hands, but I think I can use a broom. Please teach me later.”

“Oh, My Lady, I can’t let you do that!”

Katie stands up in surprise.

But I think.

If my father is going to leave me cursed like this and even refuses to pay the salary to the servants…

——It’s better not to get involved in my father’s plans or actions and it’s easier to escape before problems arise.

Eventually, Katie alone will not be able to maintain the house. Even I, who only saw the work of the servants, knew that.

And there is one more purpose.

If I need to flee as a commoner, I need to be able to live like a commoner so that I don’t have to struggle later.

That’s why I want to acquire the skills to live as a commoner as soon as possible.

“Won’t the shortage of hands be resolved soon? In the meantime, I can’t just leave everything as it is. That’s why I don’t mind cleaning until the servant comes, and I can boast that Katie did everything.”

When I pressed her, Katie made a troubled expression.

Eventually, she nodded, so after dinner, I was taught how to clean with a broom.

And Katie left the house early.

It seems that leaving me alone in the house without anyone else is uneasy, but I can’t fail to contact the mansion.

So when I smiled and said “It’s okay,” and pushed her back, she walked quickly on the road.

“No problem. Because there is the Block Skill… No one can enter within 50 steps of me.”

I muttered and activated the skill, and began cleaning as Katie taught me.

After sweeping the small entrance hall from one end and cleaning the corridor, I heard a scream from outside.

“What?!”

It was Katie’s voice.

Chapter 26: I am safe with my skills

Since I rarely suffer direct damage thanks to my skills anyway, there is no reason to hesitate.

I quickly went outside.

But I still can’t see Katie. She must be outside the gate.

“Oh well. I’ll make it so that no one can enter within five steps of me…”

I changed the range of my block and ran to open the gate.

At that moment, I widen my eyes.

Katie was being held down by someone and had collapsed face down in front of the gate.

I immediately went to expel those men.

(Everyone other than Katie will be unable to approach within ten steps of me)

If I change the range of my block to include Katie, as I move forward, they roll sideways as if being pushed by something.

“Wh…?!”

The man holding Katie down seems not to know what has happened to him.

He keeps comparing his hands and Katie.

He is a man with a dirty jacket, pants, and unkempt short hair and his stubble unkempt.

Is he a thief?

“Anyway, let’s run home, Katie.”

While they were flustered, I tried to take Katie inside the house.

“M-My Lady…”

But Katie seems to have completely lost her strength and can’t even stand up.

I am also too weak, so it is quite difficult for me to carry her and move.

Even so, I was pulling her little by little and was about to enter the gate.

“T-This…”

A man stands up and I stand up and change the range of my Block Skill in order to do what I have been thinking about for a while, leaving Katie.

“Hey!”

Although the cry may not have enough spirit, I go towards the opponent pretending to punch.

“My Lady!”

“Move…”!

My fist is not strong and has no power.

However, the man who ran towards me was blocked by an air wall with a radius of 20 centimeters including my fist, and bounced back as if he had been struck against the wall.

Looking down at the man who collapsed on the spot, I exhale.

“If you hurt my servant again next time, it won’t end just like that.”

Declaring that, I reset the range of my Block Skill again.

To make sure I am not attacked from behind, I finally take Katie and enter the gate, locking the gate.

“Haah…”

I exhale the breath I had held in.

“I didn’t think it would go this well, but it seems we avoided disaster.

As long as we can get inside the gate, everything will be okay.

They don’t know how many people are inside, so they’ll probably hesitate, and above all, there’s “that” super tough woman who can knock people out with a single punch.

“My Lady…um…”

Katie seems to have calmed down, but her body is still trembling.

“It’s okay. First, let’s rest inside the house. If we lock the door, no one can come in.”

Even if a servant comes, as long as I hear their voice and invite them in after calling out to them, we’ll be fine.

Tomorrow, a servant will be sent from the main house, or another servant will come, and the number of people will increase.

After that, let’s ask someone familiar with this area to send guards to the house again.

(It’s still frustrating that I have to ask my father…)

I want to get away from that house as soon as possible.

Thanks to changing my place of residence like this, it seems like the contents of the nightmare have changed.

If I take more action, I may be able to see a new future.

“First, let’s have dreams tonight and tomorrow.”

Katie, who heard my mutterings, cocks her head.

“Did something happen?”

“No, don’t worry about it. So, was the letter sent?”

“Yes. I found a stationery shop, so I sent it there.”

In the capital, it is common to ask a store or someone to send a letter. The postal worker who comes to the store collects the letters and delivers them to a stationery shop or the house of a noble in the neighborhood of the recipient.

If it is in the capital, it should arrive today or tomorrow.

After talking and calming down, Katie asks, “By the way… My Lady.”

“About earlier…”

I hesitated to answer.

In fact, it is impossible to say that I am good at fighting with people.

It is also not true that the opponent was so weak and afraid of my intimidation.

I have struck the opponent too firmly.

And by hesitating, Katie seems to have guessed.

“Is it possible that My Lady has a skill?”

“…”

If I admit it, it will be decisive.

However, no matter how much I denies it, Katie will continue to suspect if she witnessed it.

“…Yes. I just found out recently. But don’t tell anyone.”

“Why is that? If it’s known that you have a skill, everyone will treat you with respect. You shouldn’t have to clean up for yourself like this.”

Katie widened her eyes and argued.

I would have done the same if it weren’t for that nightmare.

But just having a skill is not enough. You might be thrown onto the same path towards the future and end up being the mastermind behind a rebellion if you make a mistake.

Maybe you were given a position in a neighboring country because you have a skill.

Or maybe you used your skill to eliminate people you think are in the way.

…It seems visible.

But even if I explain this to Katie, she won’t understand.

Chapter 27: Please keep the secret until the grave

If I attack from a different direction…what should I do?

Then I suddenly remembered what Katie told me. I will try to explain from this point.

“Hey Katie. It may be valued, so I will have to go to the temple soon. And then I won’t be able to read any more of those interesting books that Katie tells me about.”

“Oh…but isn’t it the same for everyone who has skills?”

“In my case, there is a high probability that it will happen. After all, my father is a notorious person. He is also disliked by other nobles. Many families want to avoid placing a skilled person in such a house. It’s like affixing a foil.”

Taking a breath, I continued.

“The noble families may try to work on the temple to increase the material that becomes an ally to the infamous Count house. If that happens, the temple will try to take me in. My father should not be hostile to the temple. And once I enter the temple, they will not let me out easily.”

“That’s…”

Katie seems to know that my reputation is quite bad, so she can’t argue.

I could just fold up here.

“I’ve been thinking that I could just live in this mansion forever. My father doesn’t care about me and I’m treated with contempt by the servants, so the main house was suffocating. The Academy was also nothing but hardships, so I’m relieved that I don’t have to go anymore.”

“I was aware of My Lady’s hardships.”

Katie says that to me.

“A life where you are hated by people is over. If I can live quietly here, I am fine with that.”

“But you are engaged, are you not? Won’t you eventually have to marry?”

Oh, that’s right. Katie… or rather, the household members don’t know about this because I didn’t say anything.

(Well, even if I had said something, there was nothing that could be done about it.)

I explain because there’s no other choice.

“My fiance hates me. It’s also because of my father’s dark rumors, and there is someone else that he likes.”

“That’s…”

Katie’s face looks like she is about to cry.

“I want to get away from that person who has been so cruel to me. That’s why I don’t want to get married. If the engagement is also dissolved as a result of my being cursed, I’ll be happy. Right, Katie? At least I want to live in an environment where I can go out freely and buy books that I like.”

By the way, I want to hide my abilities so that I can eventually lead a civilian life and escape from here freely.

“…Understood, My Lady. I will keep this matter to myself.”

After explaining this, she seems to have finally understood.

“Thank you. Keep it a secret for a lifetime. In return… Ah, I’ll give you this.”

I put my hand on the collar of the cleaning clothes I was wearing. I had used a brooch of my own to hold the collar in place.

Maybe it was because it was a spare outfit, but the button was a little loose.

I take off the brooch and let Katie hold it.

“This is my gratitude. Please accept it.”

“My Lady… I can’t accept such a valuable thing.”

Katie is surprised and shakes her head.

“No. It’s my fault that you got involved in this situation, and you may not be able to return to the mansion like this… Aren’t you worried?

Katie falls silent.

“So save it just in case. I’ll give you a letter to Oji-sama later, in case you have to find another job. If you have that, you can worry about the future without worrying.”

Katie finally let out tears and wiped them with her hand.

“To go to such lengths…I will take your secret to my grave. I promise.”

I was grateful for her saying it with a determined expression.

But is it really worth crying about…? I just want to make an open-minded choice, but I want her to stay quiet.

“Now, please check the results of the cleaning. And then please prepare for lunch.”

I brightly said to Katie and pulled her hand.

After that, it wasn’t until the evening that the cook and two servants finally came with the housekeeper.

Along with the house butler…

…It was dangerous.

If it had been during the day, I would have borrowed a spare outfit from Katie for cleaning and would have been learning how to cook in the kitchen, learning how to use a knife.

I was lucky to be changing and resting when I was tired.

“We apologize for the absence of the cook and servants, My Lady.”

When I moved to the reception room, the house butler, who was waiting, said and deeply bowed.

From this attitude, it seems that I have not been abandoned yet. If the “curse” cannot be lifted… I don’t know what will happen.

“In the end, did the cooks not come here on their own?”

“No.”

The butler denied it clearly.

“There seemed to be a problem going… so this time we brought a live-in person.”

“What kind of problem was there?”

I understand if they don’t want me to know, but what does it mean to have a problem?

“It seems that there has been a lot of theft in this area. It’s scary because it’s dangerous to go.”

The butler’s words were rough, but he didn’t seem to be lying. Besides, Katie was attacked just now.

“That’s scary… it’s a hassle that we can’t send anyone from here. Is there any way to do something?”

“We also brought a guard. We rented a room in front of this mansion and used it as a base to protect the outside of the mansion.”

“I see.”

When I nodded, the butler left the room.

“I wonder if the public order has really deteriorated so much…”

It’s a little inconvenient.

But it looks like I won’t have to worry about meals, and I was able to easily learn how to clean and cook from Katie.

“There is also an advantage for me.”

The guards are only on the outside.

If I borrow clothes from Katie and go out, they shouldn’t be able to be recognized as myself. Can’t I just go out all the time?

(I can secure my safety this way because I was able to help Katie.)

There is also a reason why I want to go out.

It has become inconvenient for Lars-sama and the others to visit this house frequently to contact me.

(If I use a live-in human, the house butler or housekeeper may come for supervision at short intervals because they are in the same capital. It would be inconvenient if Asher-sama’s identity was reported at that time.)

If it is a visiting human, they will only do the work they have been assigned and return home. So if it had been like before, it would have been fine to have them visit at night when they were not there, but that is not possible with a live-in person.

That’s why I want to go and contact Lars-sama myself.

Chapter 28: My Lady’s first solo outing 1

First of all, I watched the movements of the live-in servants.

To secretly find a chance to go out.

After three days, I pretended to walk around the inside of the gate in the evening saying “I want to freshen up.”

And the next day, I pretended to be sick from the morning.

Tried to sneeze a little.

Tried saying “I’m fine.”

I pretended to be sick beforehand and stayed in my room during the day.

“Sorry Katie. I’ll sleep a little from noon. I feel a little sick.”

“Is it okay if I don’t call a doctor?”

Katie worries and says, but sorry, it’s troublesome to be called.

“Let’s think about it after sleeping. I don’t feel like I have a fever, so I think it’ll be okay if I rest.”

“Understood. Please call if you need anything.”

Katie changed the water that is always prepared in the room and left the room.

…Now. It’s time to execute the plan.

First of all, change into the outfit that I had previously hidden in the room.

Then check the time.

“——One and a half hours… okay.”

If they know that I won’t leave the room, the servants will be having a meal next to the kitchen during this time.

This is the time when they are most distracted and it is difficult to hear sounds with the voices of conversation.

I peeked once, but went unnoticed.

I gently opened the door to the room and confirmed that Katie was not there.

Then I slowly descend to the first floor.

Stepping on tiptoe…

Sometimes the wooden stairs make a loud… sound. Carefully, I arrive on the first floor without making any more noise.

The entrance door has also been oiled because it was loud the other day, so it did not make any noise when opened.

I went outside.

I have some coins in my pocket just in case, and also a letter I wrote.

(First, I’ll go to Lars-sama’s mansion and deliver the letter. When they see the letter, they will understand that I am a servant waiting for a reply.)

Then I should be able to meet Lars-sama.

As for the current situation, he should have heard a little explanation from Asher-sama before. They will be surprised to see me moving around like this.

If you are told [It’s unbelievable that a noble lady would do such a thing], I’ll think of something else.

“For the sake of a life that is not imprisoned, yes.”

First, I must go out to the main street in the capital.

The place where there are many noble mansions is the place where you go straight to the palace on the main street. If you ask around the Duke Svald’s house, you will know where it is.

I walk quickly. I need to leave this area soon because the security seems bad.

“I can’t keep using my skills over and over again.”

I don’t want my skills to be exposed.

As I walk very tensely, I feel that someone is following me from behind.

When I look back, there is one man who looks similar to the one who attacked Katie before…two people.

(Is it okay to use skills with these people?)

If it’s just a thief, they might not try to attack me if they know I have skills.

That’s what I thought about everyone in that separate mansion.

They must know it’s a noble house, so they might misunderstand that there is a skilled person hired there.

“Don’t come within ten steps of me.”

While muttering softly, I set the range of my skills. This way, they can’t grab onto me either.

So let’s walk calmly. It’s been a while since I’ve walked a long distance, it would be a hassle if I fall.

As I slow down my walking speed,

“Hey, young lady, give me some money… What?”

A low, subdued voice rises up as if it was flipped over.

I take a quick look, the person who wasn’t supposed to be approaching me is staring blankly, unable to reach out any further.

Leaving that person behind, I continue on.

“Hey, what are you doing, you idiot! Wait there, servant!”

There is a person blocking my way.

The man is more than twice as wide as me, with arms as thick as my waist. I’m actually more curious about him.

Why is he doing pickpocketing when he looks like he could work in physical labor?

(I wonder if it was more profitable this way. Or is he in debt? I remember hearing something like that from the servants’ chatter.)

Incidentally, in the servants’ chatter at the main house, I heard about an acquaintance of a man who became a pickpocket and was caught and thrown into prison. The reason was apparently to quickly earn a large amount of money to pay off his debt.

(Life in prison is not a good thing…)

It was enough for me to see it as a nightmare, and I don’t want to have such miserable experiences, so I am working hard like this.

I think this man should work properly…

While thinking such things, I continue to walk.

“Huh? What the hell?”

A man who can only walk behind me at a certain distance from me without obstructing my progress looks at me with round eyes.

A magician?

“I haven’t heard of hiring a magician at that mansion!”

“But there is no way she can do such a thing unless she is!”

Even the other ruffians come out and surround me, but the men cannot stop my steps and only walk sideways behind me.

I tilted my head at the content of their confused conversation.

These men seem to know a lot about my house, but what does this mean?

Chapter 29: My Lady’s first solo outing 2

In addition, I scowled while listening to the conversations of the ruffians.

“Is this guy really not hearing our conversation?”

“She’s just ignoring us.”

“The young lady is said to be cursed to not be able to hear people’s voices…”

“What if it was a contagious curse?”

With a disgusted look, the ruffians took a little distance from me.

(Is someone from the house leaking information to these people?)

I think it is natural to think that way.

But I don’t know the reason.

(What is the reason for someone to turn to the ruffians? Did they just target me because it seemed easy to steal?)

That could also be the case, but it is not necessarily the case that such kinds of people have a hand with the nobility.

(…I can’t think about it. There is also the possibility that there is a person who leaks information to our mansion by chance, and that person is in the same group as these ruffians.)

In any case, I must get away from these men.

I finally arrived at the main street and went straight ahead.

“Hey…”

The ruffians were flustered.

The pattern of men chasing after a “servant” is obviously abnormal, so they can’t do the same thing in a crowded place.

I blend into the crowds of people walking on the edge, avoiding carriages, and the ruffians have gone far away.

“Are they still following me?”

But it seems they can’t give up on taking something from me.

Even while maintaining a distance that is not unnatural, they continue to chase me.

I was confused as I walked while blocking others with my body to the extent of my hand length so as not to stand out.

“I wonder how long they’ll follow me…”

Could it be that their goal isn’t just to take things?

After all, they don’t know that I live in that mansion… They were calling me a servant.

(But even though they seem to misunderstand that the curse is contagious, they’re still following me… I wonder what their purpose is)

In any case, I continued to walk down the main street and scattered them.

It’s nothing.

(I’ll keep that man and that man and that big man who are following me at least 30 steps away from me)

“Whoa!”

As soon as I set the range of the block, a scream rose from behind.

Perhaps they were too close and bounced off.

I immediately started running and expanded the range of the block while doing so.

(Keep them at least 100 steps away from me)

I switched to walking again because I was tired, and further expanded the block.

(Don’t come within 200 steps of me)

Now, if I turn a corner a few times, I will not be found.

Moreover, I found something very good.

“Is that a rental carriage? Will it take me to Shirayuri Street?”

I found a carriage for rent and an old man who seemed to be taking a break, puffing smoke from a pipe.

When the old man saw the coin I offered, he widened his eyes and showed a full smile.

“Of course, of course! Come on, come on and ride. Where do you want to go to Shirayuri Street? Are you running an errand for your noble lady?”

The old man opened the door of the carriage, so I rushed in there.

The carriage is a two-seater with no walls in front and you can see the driver’s seat.

“Yes, please take me to the Duke Svald house.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

The old man cheerfully said and gave instructions to the horse with a whip from the driver’s seat.

(That’s good. My feet were getting tired)

I didn’t think that walking was particularly inconvenient because the Academy, which was remodeled into a palace, and the main house are large. But I think my physical strength has dropped because I have been confined in a small house in another house for a while.

I turn around and look behind me, but I don’t see any humans chasing me.

“That’s good.”

I’ll be fine as long as I can ride in the carriage to the Duke’s house.

I enjoyed the time in the carriage.

However, as we were about to enter the Lily Street from the main street leading to the royal palace, another carriage started to follow us from behind.

At first, I didn’t pay much attention to it, thinking it was just a noble’s carriage, but it keeps following us no matter how many corners we turn.

(I wonder if it’s one of their companions…)

If the person with the black-painted carriage is a member of that group of ruffians, it will be troublesome.

Still, at first I thought I could just go to the Duke’s house with that carriage in tow.

Suddenly, another carriage appeared in front of us.

And it stopped in a position that seemed to block our carriage.

“What?!”

The carriage behind us slowed down and stopped, and several people got out of it and drew their swords.

It looks like they are trying to trap us.

“What should we do?”

In any case, I can’t protect myself, so I need to escape. For that reason, it would be better if I were to leave.

“This is far enough.”

Saying that, I left the old man who was panicking and ran back.

“Customer-san?!”(Driver)

Although voices chase me, the rear of the carriage should be covered by the curtain, so it should not be visible from this side.

Taking advantage of that, I use my skill to make it impossible for anyone to approach within five steps, and head towards the group that drew their swords.

The men who did not expect me to approach them stopped unconsciously.

If I pass through them, they will naturally be pushed away as soon as I approach.

“Whoa!”

“What?!”

The surprised men have their eyes wide open. But they began to chase me in a panic.

Now, they won’t be able to head towards that oldman’s carriage.

The problem is… the person in the carriage who was blocking the way might have learned my destination from the old man.

Chapter 30: Whoever manipulated these ruffians

I ran without looking back.

From around here, I can see the location of the Duke Svald house.

However, it is very far away.

It is a place with many mansions with large plots of land. It became inevitable because the vassals from the founding of the country built mansions next to the palace.

So I continue to walk along the side of the brick and stone walls that continue endlessly, but I get out of breath before I can reach it.

“Those ruffians can’t get within a hundred steps of me.”

I expanded the range, but I’m not sure if it will be effective.

I also have doubts about this skill…

Before my doubts come true, I wonder if a normal noble will pass by and help me.

While thinking this, a black painted carriage appeared in front of me.

I excluded carriages, so it is natural to approach.

I braced myself, thinking that the ruffian’s companions might come out.

An unexpected person appeared from the open door.

“Oh, isn’t this Miss Linea?”

“…No.”

Why, I whispered to myself.

The person who got off the carriage had a hair color that I had seen somewhere, a golden brown. And the gray-blue eyes were… Albert’s… father.

“What’s the matter with you in that outfit? You look troubled.”

As I watch him walk towards me, I think (oh no).

I can’t use my skills.

Even if the ruffians from earlier were making a fuss about [I might have skills], I can make excuses and push it aside as [it was their imagination].

But this nobleman, Count Herkuvis, won’t work.

His persuasive power is different from that of those ruffians.

If he talks to nobles or the temple, it will be transmitted as a fact, and no matter how much I lie or try to conceal it with someone’s power, it won’t disappear.

“No, are you mistaken for someone else?”

I quickly chose to not reveal my identity.

“Is that so? That beautiful, glossy hair and beautiful posture is exactly the young lady I know?”

Count Herkuvis, who knows for sure that I am Linea, pursues me like that.

Or rather…

(Even at a time like this, you can’t express the color of my hair beautifully…)

Most humans can’t decorate this subtle hair color with flowery language. It’s just not something that can be called beautiful.

Even if it is said that it is not a bad color and that flowers and decorations stand out, it is a difficult color that is different from black but not brown, a color with a strong black taste like milky tea.

I can’t help but laugh.

(Only Oji-sama.)

.

It was Oji-sama who used such a cute expression like a chocolate with milk added to the hair color.

That’s why I can only feel frustration with Count Herkuvis, Albert’s father.

“My Lady has a more beautiful hair color. It is not like my swamp-like color.”

Even I can’t think of anything bad to say, so it’s hopeless.

By the way, [swamp-like color] is an insult that a “certain young lady” said at the Academy.

Count Herkuvis seems to be getting impatient with me, who stubbornly refuses to acknowledge it.

“…I was worried because I heard a story about a curse that I didn’t understand when I checked to see if you had suddenly stopped coming to the Academy because you were sick. Your father seems to not understand your value very well.”

My mood drops a little.

There is no need to discuss it because my father has never cared about me.

But the value that Count Herkuvis feels for me is something like eventually getting the Count Elvasti family or it’s advantageous to have a son engaged to get out of debt, isn’t it?

It makes me angry when he talks about it as if it’s a good thing.

“Could it be that you’re angry about my son and purposely lowering your own value by skipping Academy and pretending to be angry?”

Count Herkuvis showed a sad expression.

“Certainly, it’s a reprehensible thing for my son to have feelings for a servant. But it’s not good to leave it as it is, Miss Linea. If you don’t go to Academy, you will become a lady who cannot graduate. At that time, you will be the one to suffer dishonor.”

…If he’s worried about that, shouldn’t the Count do something about it, like breaking up his son and the servant?

But instead of doing that, it’s strange for me to be the one worrying about it, so what do you mean by telling me to go back to Academy?

In the first place, I did not absent myself from the Academy of my own accord.

I also found out why Count Herkuvis was so worried about me.

He would be troubled if his child’s fiancé were a crude product who couldn’t even graduate from the Academy.

That’s why he tried to get me into the Academy no matter what.

I think he used the ruffians for that.

The carriage Count Herkuvis was riding in was the same one that passed through the dirt road earlier, so those ruffians must have been hired by him.

Perhaps he threatened the servants to make my father think that he couldn’t leave his daughter in that small mansion.

At first, he thought he could achieve his goal by threatening all the servants who came to visit me.

But my father didn’t move me.

So…did he attack the servants at home?

Did he relentlessly chase me, perhaps thinking that he could catch me and directly threaten [Count’s daughter, Linea]?

In any case, I have to escape from this person somehow.

Chapter 31: The only one who can help

The best way to get help is to use your skills.

But I don’t want to show this person——.

(Well, I have a good excuse)

I thought and told Count Herkuvis.

“In any case, I am not My Lady. Excuse me.”

I just bow to the other person and quickly turn back on the road.

“Then who do you say you are?”

I answered the Count Herkuvis who asked mockingly.

“…I am a magician.”

If it’s like this, I’ll take advantage of the misunderstanding of the ruffians earlier.

From now on, I will imitate a magician.

“I was ordered to serve My Lady for a reason.”

I don’t say much… because I might dig my own grave.

I headed towards the ruffians who were trying to catch up with me from behind.

“Hey… it’s this again!”

“Why can’t I move on?!”

“I mean, I’m being pushed and ouch!”

As I advance, they are forced to retreat.

Count Herkuvis seemed to have something to think about as he saw this scene.

“There’s no way that gloomy young lady has that kind of power… Could she really be a magician? And is it possible that she’s deliberately making herself look that way?”

It seems like they misunderstood as I had hoped, but I can’t help but feel angry.

“Gloomy” is quite a harsh word. I wasn’t very trusting of him to begin with, but now I like him even less.

“Well, but there’s also the possibility of an exception…”

I hear those words, but I continue to walk, pushing aside the ruffians as if to repel them.

And just as we were about to turn a corner, something quickly passed by my side.

There’s a loud “clang,” and an arrow bounces off the stone paving after hitting it.

“Wha…”

This can’t be real, right?

If, by any chance, I really am Linea, then why shoot an arrow at me?!

In surprise, I turn around.

Count Herkuvis was trying to have one of his servants, who was riding in the carriage with him, shoot more arrows.

“You there, woman! Stop! Especially since you’re just a servant. It’s not allowed to defy the orders of a noble like myself. And speaking of which, are you really a magician? You keep people away but you let arrows through…

Count Herkuvis said that and laughed with his mouth twisted.

I hesitated.

I thought I could keep people away, but I was wrong.

(But then, I don’t know how far to specify…)

If I specify everything except the air, it seems that the fence of the house next to me and the stone pavement will also be affected. But even if I list as many weapons as I can think of, if something leaks out of them by any chance… I will still be suspicious.

Anyway, it is best to leave this place.

I decided to block the arrows and swords and tried to run.

Then I heard the sound of a carriage running.

I may be cautious, thinking it might be someone from Count Herkuvis’s hand again.

But the cart that stopped at the corner was not from Count Herkuvis’s house, although it was black-painted, with a gold crest with a twisted horn on the side and white-dressed servants and courtiers.

(Someone related to the Count…?)

I thought so, but the crest was different.

The lion’s mark with a corner is the proof of this kingdom’s royal family. If it is allowed, it is a family belonging to the royal family…

As soon as the door opened, I widened my eyes.

“Ah, you were here. I came to pick you up.”

The one who got off was a young man with long golden hair——Lars-sama.

“Lars-sama…”

He smiles and invites me.

“It must have been a long way. I’m sorry I couldn’t come to pick you up earlier.”

Lars-sama doesn’t seem to care at all about the ruffians in between me and him. Rather, I am confused by this.

Uh, is it okay?

As expected, half of the ruffians tried to intimidate Lars-sama.

“What a nice guy.”

“Hey, what are you trying to do with our prey, you brat?”

Lars-sama finally looks at them and orders his two followers behind him with a sigh.

“Get rid of them.”

With that one word, the two of them silently run towards the ruffians.

“What?”

The ruffians tried to counter, but before that, their attacks were counter and they were kicked away in an instant, clearing the way between me and Lars-sama.

“Well, the danger is over.”

I approach him uncertainly with the extended hand.

It’s a ridiculous situation, but I came here to see him. I can’t miss this opportunity.

“W-Wait, Duke Svald!”

Finally, Count Herkuvis spoke up.

Chapter 32: Arrive at Duke Svald’s house

Count Herkuvis approaches unsteadily and says to Lars-sama.

“That servant is not yours…”

But I don’t know what he wants to say because he is confused and tried to attack me by treating me as a servant earlier.

Leaving Count Herkuvis aside, Lars-sama turns his gaze to me who has come to his side.

“You are a servant, right?”

I nodded to the confirmatory words.

It is better to pass as a servant in this situation. It is not good for me to walk alone in a strange outfit as Count’s daughter, or to have strange abilities.

Lars-sama seemed to have guessed my intention without particularly asking for an explanation.

“This servant has been entrusted to me, Count Herkuvis. I will take responsibility for this person’s identity. So, what happened? Chasing a single woman with a large group…”

Lars-sama’s gaze is directed at the ruffians who were knocked down by his followers earlier.

“It’s strange that Count would use such rogues like this. I would like an explanation about this. They also used words that insulted me.”

“N-No.”

Count Herkuvis retreats at Lars-sama’s words.

“Those people have nothing to do with me! I was just trying to help that servant…”

“Well, then there will be no problem if I take care of her. How about you go home and relax?”

Reluctantly, it seems that Count Herkuvis had no choice but to obey, despite looking embarrassed, when he was told “Get out of the way” by Lars-sama, who holds the right of succession to the throne as the Duke.

“I will excuse myself…”

Count Herkuvis bows with a bitter expression and leaves.

The ruffians, who were only watching him leave vaguely, panicked and retreated.

“Hey, what about our reward?”

“Who knows? We have to ask while we can!”

They made a fuss while leaving.

(…Is that really okay?)

I became fully aware that I was surrounded by Count Herkuvis’s orders, but…

“Noin, Marc.”

When Lars-sama calls their names, the two who had been keeping watch by Lars-sama’s side move and catch one of the ruffians, stunning him dramatically.

“Eek!”

The other ruffians, fearing this, quickly fled and disappeared from the scene in a flash.

Leaving your friends behind may be cold, but it may be the right judgment for crisis management.

“Have one of you take that man and force him to confess. It would be best to get a written confession from him while he is in the custody of the police.”

“Understood.”

One of the servants quickly takes action.

In fact, it is a little difficult to tell which of these two servants is which. They have similar reddish-brown hair and almost the same hairstyle. Their faces are also identical, so they must be twins.

“Well then, please come to my mansion first, Miss Linea.”

Lars-sama approached me, closing the slight distance between us and shaking my hand.

I was a little startled, probably because the sight of him using servants was a little frightening… I think.

It’s strange, isn’t it? Even though it is common for nobles.

“Then, please get on the carriage, Miss Linea. I would be delighted if you could rest at my house and hear the details.”

I took the hand offered to me and got on Lars-sama’s carriage.

It takes just a little time to arrive at the Duke’s house.

Besides, I had already come quite close. If it weren’t for Count Herkuvis, I would have already arrived on foot.

Still, after all the walking and running, I was grateful for the time to rest in the carriage.

The Duke’s mansion we arrived at was so large that I thought so even more.

If I had walked, it would have taken quite some time.

While riding in the carriage, Lars-sama didn’t talk to me much out of consideration. He only asked one thing.

“Miss Linea, do you need to change clothes?”

“No, it’s fine.”

After the discussion later, I have to return to that villa at least once. I’ll need my servant’s clothes to sneak back.

Lars-sama may also be concerned about talking to a servant, but please bear with me a little.

When I got off the carriage, the servants waiting at the entrance were wide-eyed.

They never expected that the master would bring a servant in his own carriage.

But when Lars-sama got off first and escorted me, their expressions returned to calm, as if they sensed that there was some reason for it.

Lars-sama explained to the approaching butler.

“I have invited a lady who has disguised herself as a servant for some reason. I ask for your polite treatment. Also, please take care of the man Noin and Marc are bringing with them.”

He also gave instructions about the ruffian who had been caught by the servant and invited me with a smile.

“Welcome to my home, Miss Linea.”

“Thank you for your invitation.”

I greeted him again and entered the building with Lars-sama.

Chapter 33: A request to Lars-sama

I was led to the reception room.

The combination of the heavy and ornate furniture that is characteristic of the Duke family, which has a long history, and the beautiful white walls and ceiling with gold decorations, is a room with a bright but calm atmosphere.

I am sitting on a sofa covered with a thick fabric with ivy patterns. The fabric is made of merlin, which is a famous textile from a beautiful land in the north of the country.

I am sorry to be sitting in a servant’s uniform there.

But Lars-sama didn’t mind and offered me tea made by the servants.

“Please, Miss Linea. You must be tired, so first relax with a warm tea.”

“Thank you for your consideration.”

My throat was also dry, so the tea was very welcome.

“By the way, have you slept since then due to the influence of the sacred flower?”

“Yes. Thank you very much for the other day. Thanks to that, I was able to pass without any particular discomfort. I’m sorry to have asked Asher-sama to bring me the flower sweets.”

“I often ask him to do various things for me. Don’t worry about it.”

As we were talking about the incident the other day, I had finished drinking about half of the cup’s contents. Sensing that I had settled down, Lars-sama started talking.

“Well, may I ask why you were out today in that appearance?”

I nod.

“In fact… I came to visit Lars-sama.”

“All by yourself to see me? Was there something confidential you wanted to talk about?”

As expected, Lars-sama is good at guessing.

“There is something I really want to talk to you about regarding my nightmare.”

“Could it be related to the dream I was supposed to have talked about with Asher?”

I slowly nod and affirm. And just as I was about to start talking, Lars-sama interrupts me.

“Could it be that you also had a dream where your father gave guidance on invasion, and that’s why you wanted to hear about my nightmare and came directly here without anyone knowing?”

Lars-sama continued, “That’s what I thought.”

“Your behavior changed.”

“Mine… did?”

“Yes. Your behavior changed after you received that flower confectionery. For example, you stopped contacting your fiance. You used to be angry before. And you stopped caring about anyone else, etc.”

Certainly, as Lars-sama said, I was more concerned about the nightmare than about Albert or that Academy’s servant, and after that my head was full of the skills I acquired.

“It may be a trivial matter for others. Indeed, those who heard the previous and current circumstances did not care at all. But I felt that the nightmare you saw was affecting you. And by coming alone today, I am convinced… How about it?”

“…Yes.”

I nodded.

Lars-sama is so perceptive that if I deny it, it seems likely that he will immediately find out that I am lying.

Even if I try to dodge it, I will probably be caught in the interrogation. So I felt that I had to nod.

The truth is, I didn’t want to say that I would become a traitor in the future.

But it would probably be known someday. Especially after Lars-sama learned about the same future…

I told myself that it couldn’t be helped.

But what I worry about is how Lars-sama will think of me, who has a father who will become a traitor in the future.

…When I glance at Lars-sama, he looks unchanged from before.

Until now, only Lars-sama himself had dreamed, so it wouldn’t be strange to think it was some misunderstanding. But since I confirmed that I also had the same dream, you should have felt that it was definitely a future that could come true.

Why, when I take a glance at Lars-sama, does he seem to be sitting calmly on the sofa with the same composed attitude as before?

(Are you not worried?)

I don’t think there’s anything wrong, but from the way he looks, he doesn’t seem to be viewing the problem as much as I fear.

Lars-sama speaks to me.

“Is there something you want to rely on me for?”

“I…”

I hesitate to say the prepared words as they are.

If I do, Lars-sama will realize that I…want to run away from everything, even from home.

He might disdain me, wanting to be saved, for abandoning my duties as a noble and throwing everything away.

He might not understand why I would give up my noble status and become disliked.

Even while thinking about that possibility, I eventually voiced my wish.

“I would like your cooperation so that I can live on my own. Specifically … I would like you to give me some kind of job.”

I added more words.

“Oh, in addition to cooperating in the verification of the effects of flowers and sweets, that is.”

I don’t want to be thought of as demanding money for the promised work. It wouldn’t look good.

I just want a proper job.

If possible, not as a noble lady, but as something else.

Chapter 34: If you misunderstand me, it’s better that way

To my request, Lars-sama seemed a little surprised.

He looked away and had a thinking expression.

“Were you surprised?”

I couldn’t help but ask, and Lars-sama honestly nodded.

“Yes. I thought you were coming to ask for protection.”

“Protection…”

“If you saw your father’s future as a serious criminal, you would normally be afraid to be arrested. It is certain that the whole family will be arrested and chained in a prison. When you think about escaping from there, women should look for someone or a situation that can prove that they are innocent. That’s why I thought you were asking for protection from me…”

Indeed, I also wanted to do it at first.

I go to someone who can help me and claim “I didn’t do anything”. It’s the easiest way.

But probably, that won’t work.

It’s fine if my father just guides the invasion.

I am——a person who has helped a neighboring country and is hated by those around me. And no matter how I try to excuse myself, I feel like they will claim that I tried to harm “her” and be thrown into prison.

From the dreams I’ve seen so far, I felt that way.

No matter what I say, I will be treated as the person who participated in the crime of guiding the neighboring country…

That’s why being just protected is not enough.

“I need a way to live without being a noblewoman.”

“Is that becoming a commoner…?”

I nodded.

“Even if I am protected… I thought it would not be solved. As long as there is a blood connection, there will be people who doubt my involvement. If it is the royal family, it will also cause trouble for Lars-sama and the others.”

If Lars-sama is suspected just because of my relationship with him… I’ve finally met someone who’s willing to be my friend, and I don’t want that to happen.

Lars-sama listened to my answer and seemed to speculate further.

“Miss Linea. Was the dream you saw… a direct dream of you being caught? That’s why you’re taking such desperate action?”

“I am…”

Deep down, I feared Lars-Sama.

I wonder why he can see through it so much.

But it’s me who is making a request to Lars-sama. I think his burden will be much less if he doesn’t appear in the forefront in the form of protection.

Even so, he doesn’t look overwhelmed by my strange decision to give up being a noble lady.

Proving it, Lars-sama adds.

“Of course I want to help you as much as I can, as a way of apologizing for giving you nightmares. However, I want to know what you are looking for when you cooperate.”

“What do you mean by …?”

“Is it the best to completely cut off ties in response to your request, or should we look for another way together?”

Lars-sama smiles.

“When I saw the dream with the sacred flower, I thought that what you were worried about was this. Because other humans who ate the same sacred flower sweets also saw the future in their dreams, I thought you saw the same thing in your dream.”

When you think about it, it was something that could be easily guessed.

“Anyone would be worried if their family was involved in leading an invasion.

“I wonder if maybe that’s why you thought about running away from the Elvasti house? And the fact that you are now in this mansion, and haven’t come to the Academy for a few days, is all because of that?”

Even I find it hard to deny it at this point.

It seems like Lars-sama is already convinced of it.

But perhaps Lars-sama is imagining that my father will be caught and the Elvasti house will fall?

He doesn’t seem to think that I myself will be put in prison as the villainess. Maybe he thinks it was just a nightmare of the house falling and being lost?

(I don’t want it to be known that I became a criminal… Let’s keep it hidden while talking.)

I think again, in a different sense.

If I were to talk about the content of the dream, Lars-sama, who caused the nightmare, would surely be worried.

“That’s right, Lars-sama. It was a dream about my father… with the neighboring country.”

“It’s definitely a nightmare no matter how you look at it. I’m sorry for involving you in such strange things, even though you already have a lot to worry about.”

I shook my head at Lars-sama, who apologized.

“On the contrary, I am grateful. Thanks to you, I may be able to escape from the worst future. I think I have obtained that opportunity.”

I was able to become more positive thanks to my skills.

Since I was able to receive less maliciousness from outside, I had some leeway in my heart. And I came to think that I might be able to do something myself, or maybe I could live alone…

“To show that you mean what you say… wearing servant’s clothes?”

Oh, this was just convenient for escaping.

But for now, I’ll just nod.

I thought it would be more “appropriate.” It is selfish, but I want to take advantage of this happy misunderstanding.

Chapter 35: Lars-sama’s proposal

“But isn’t it unnecessary to become a commoner? It would be difficult for a noble lady to live as a commoner. I’m worried if you can bear it.”

While Lars-sama expresses his doubts, I also argue a little anxiously.

“As a noble lady who was raised, I certainly don’t know how to live as a commoner. However, I thought that in order to escape the stigma of being a traitor’s relative, I had to renounce my nobility, even if it meant pretending to be dead.”

That way, it doesn’t matter what my father does.

“I think that this plan is the quickest way to cut ties. However, there is also a risk.”

Lars-sama showed tentative agreement and continued.

“If it was discovered that you pretended to die to hide, if you were a commoner, you would have a higher possibility of being treated worse than a noble lady.”

“Worse… treatment?”

“For example, even if you didn’t know anything about your father’s crimes, if they wanted evidence, you might be forced to confess under torture.”

“Oh no.”

It’s already painful to go to prison, and now torture too?!

“Even if I don’t know anything…?”

“That’s right. Rather, if you’re a noble lady, it’s not strange to be unaware of anything. That’s how you’re treated. But if you stubbornly live as a commoner, it would be understood that you tried to run away knowing about your father’s crime, right? If you knew, you should have had some evidence or been able to accuse your father… But that’s what it seems like. And unlike a noble lady, the guards will not be reserved.”

“Accuse…”

At this point, I don’t know how to accuse anyone.

“There’s no evidence, and I don’t know where the evidence is…”

At most, the only evidence that makes me feel connected is that the general from the neighboring country has been coming and going from my house… But even that is not enough evidence and I would be thought of as crazy if I accused someone based on that.

After all, even if it’s a house that does business with other countries, it’s not uncommon for people from those countries to come and go.

Above all, if I were to say that the neighboring country, which has not yet launched a war against anyone, is invading… Wouldn’t people think I’m crazy?

Wouldn’t I be able to escape if I had a skill?

But if I don’t have a basic living foundation, even if I use my skills to keep people away and eliminate physical dangers, I won’t be able to live.

That’s why I sought a job.

Lars-sama tells me, who is dizzy in my head.

“It’s not just that you don’t know where the evidence is, but it will be difficult to accuse if your situation is not in order. That is, if you don’t have the power to live as a commoner, it’s not possible. Moreover, it is not certain whether your father is currently guiding the invasion, and it is not even known whether there is evidence.”

“Certainly…”

“If I were to make that accusation on your behalf and tell them I dreamt it, they’d just laugh at me. And if your father were really trying to guide the invasion, you would be confined somewhere and locked up until everything was over.”

“I think so too.”

Affirm.

I may be able to escape my imprisonment, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to survive afterwards with what I know of being a noblewoman.

Thinking that, I voice one concern.

“But if it stays like this, I will be treated as the mastermind even if I don’t know anything… In my dream, my fiancé accused me to my father of collaborating with him.”

It’s because I was engaged to Albert that Michelia and the others hated me.

As a result, people who admired her as a Maiden of Salvation probably saw me as the evil mastermind…

From Michelia’s recent attitude of trying to cause trouble for me, even if I don’t bully or harm her, I’m sure she’ll try to put me in prison.

To avoid that, I want to distance myself from them as soon as possible.

If I break off the engagement, there will be no obstacles between Albert and her.

There is a high possibility that they will no longer be hostile to me, as they will no longer pay attention to me, who was the obstacle.

To do that, it is quickest to become a commoner.

“The fiance is also a problem for you?”

“Yes… That’s right.”

Lars-sama, who heard that, thinks for a moment.

I drink the tea that was left in the cup.

It was cold, but it was delicious. They must be using special tea leaves at the Duke house. Even at our mansion, the tea is not this delicious, probably because my father, who is the head of the house, does not care about such things.

As I waited, eventually Lars-sama said,

“Could you give me a little time?”

“Time?”

I tilt my head.

“During that time, I will assist you in choosing a way to live as a commoner. But for a while, I want you to continue living as a young noblewoman.”

Chapter 36: Are you serious, Lars-sama?

“Do you mean that I have to go to the Academy as a noblewoman?”

I couldn’t help but frown.

I was trying to escape from there, but I was told to go back.

“What should I do if I go back? Eventually, I will become the daughter of a traitor. If that happens, even if I continue to go to the Academy and graduate, it won’t mean anything.”

I endured and continued to go to the Academy as one of my noble status. But I cannot be a noble anymore. Such status is not necessary for a prisoner.

And if I give up being a noble and escape, it is still unnecessary.

Even if I pretend to be someone else, I have useless long things like an unimpressive academic background.

“Your father may not be acting yet. So there is a possibility that there is still no evidence to be found. So you can look for it later. And make it look like you accused him.”

“Me…?”

Lars-sama nods.

“If you accuse your real father for the sake of the country, you will be a kind-hearted woman who thinks of the country, and your treatment will be different even if you are a criminal’s relative.”

I bite my lips.

But I think that’s the problem.

Probably no one will believe me. Even if I gather evidence and accuse, I will probably be suspected of being involved because it is true. That’s all I can imagine.

“The fiance said he would accuse you and your father, right? Before that, if you can accuse, the fiance’s affairs will become irrelevant. And I will help you so that you can be believed and your statement will be trusted.”

“Eh…”

Without realizing it, I lifted my face that was hanging down and looked closely at Lars-sama’s face.

He doesn’t look like he’s lying.

The smiling expression doesn’t particularly feel like it’s tricking me either.

“Is that possible? Even if the daughter of the evil Count house press charges, won’t she be told that she was a member of the group because she gathered evidence that she lived in the Count house?”

Exactly what I was worried about, it seems that Lars-sama is helping me with a solution.

But such a way, I can’t really think it’s possible…

“It’s okay, there is a way. First, can you tell me in detail why you are not living in the Count’s house?”

“The reason…”

I hesitate to speak.

The curse is just a lie that I made up for my father. Is it okay for me to tell it as it is?

Although I hesitated, I made up my mind in a matter of seconds.

“I, have been cursed.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Even after hearing the word curse, Lars-sama did not flinch and urged me on.

“Well, I saw a nightmare and just wanted to get as far away from my father as possible and be in a place where I could easily run away… I pretended not to hear certain people’s conversation. And then, I said that I might have been cursed and ended up in that separate house…”

I didn’t say that I was transferred there easily. After all, that word doesn’t make a good impression.

“I thought I would be sent to the mansion in the territory, but my father chose that separate house. And I was told that I didn’t have to go to the Academy, and if I didn’t graduate from the Academy, my engagement would also be cancelled. And since there are not enough hands in that separate house, I thought I could learn the commoner skills little by little and be able to live on my own…”

“Did you acquire those skills?”

Lars-sama asked with interest.

“I can do cleaning, somehow.”

I can’t do anything else yet.

“Did you come to me saying you wanted a job because you became confident? But you got caught up with the nobility on the way … right?”

“That was the father of my fiance, Count Herkuvis. He was the one who offered me and his son’s engagement in order to get money from my father. So if I don’t go to the Academy, my value as a noble lady will drop and it will be harder to get married.”

“So he tried to keep you under surveillance under the pretext of catching and protecting you so that you could go to the Academy?”

“I think it was something like that.”

At that point, Lars-sama furrows his brow.

“By coincidence, it looks like he was well prepared. It seems he hired ruffians in advance to catch you.”

“Oh, that is.”

I told him about a ruffian watching the servants around the mansion. Once, one of my servants was almost caught.

“I think Count Herkuvis probably tried to catch my servant to lure me out and take me away. But since I came out, I think they just decided to catch me.”

“Well, you managed to get here safely.”

I replied with a few words to Lars-sama’s impressed voice, “Yes.”

I don’t want to use my skills if possible… No, should I say it now to get a job?

While I was hesitating, it seemed that Lars-sama had come to a conclusion.

“Okay, I’ve decided. I’ll try to find a way to break the curse.”

“Eh…”

I frantically say.

“Um, the curse is a lie…”

“Of course I know that.”

Lars-sama nods.

“So, in this convenient way, I’ll take responsibility for your identity. As an excuse, I will take care of you while we search for “a way to break the curse” by trying various sacred flowers. That is, if you agree.”

Lars-sama took a sip of the remaining tea in his cup before continuing.

“For this reason, I will move you from Count Elvasti’s mansion to my house. We can say that you are a student of etiquette to the outside world. Even if your father is already carrying out the invasion, wouldn’t it be better for the daughter to try to break the curse rather than remain cursed? I think he’ll agree.”

Chapter 37: How to make a commitment

“To go that far…”

Are you seriously going to take on such a bothersome person?!

I can’t help but say the words of rejection.

If I were in Lars-sama’s position, I probably couldn’t say such a thing. I’d be lucky to get hired as a cleaning maid for the Duke household, right?

Yet he is protecting me while keeping my noblewoman’s status, which I think is the most important thing, and he is even willing to negotiate with my father.

I wonder why he is going to such lengths for me. I didn’t even know him a short time ago.

If I could honestly receive it as kindness, it would be easy, but I also came here with the intention of grasping a straw. It’s a little… scary for me to lean on him that much.

As if sensing my fear, Lars-sama added on.

“Of course, I also have an interest in offering this. I would like you to cooperate in various ways about the sacred flower confections, and if you are in this house, it is easy to observe progress.”

In a way… treating me like a lab animal?

But I can understand wanting to do experiments and placing me by his side. But hiding the future traitor’s daughter and supporting her even to the point of betrayal doesn’t seem like enough compensation to me.

Then he stood up and, for some reason, sat next to me.

I was nervous.

What came to mind when he approached was the Augren Duke’s daughters who had torn up my notebook and kept saying mean things to me, thinking they were being friendly.

I wondered if he was going to threaten me, but Lars-sama whispered to me in a low voice.

“You’re skilled, aren’t you?”

“…!!”

He found out!

Surprised, I unconsciously turned my face towards him.

Now it’s clear that he knows the truth. I can’t even make an excuse, so I maintain a calm expression and switch to questioning.

“How…did you notice?”

“I saw you running away. I chased you. Is it a power that keeps people away…I think it’s quite wonderful.”

I reflexively tried to stand up.

I realized that my secret was known and I wanted to escape reflexively. But I don’t know where to escape to.

Due to such hesitation, my movements were sluggish and I was pulled back by Lars-sama’s arm and made to sit down again as I tried to stand up.

“There’s no need to be afraid, Miss Linea. If you want, I won’t tell anyone else and I’ll help you hide it.”

“Is that really true…?”

I stare intently at Lars-sama’s eyes.

He looked back at me with a serious gaze.

“I promise. In return, if you cooperate with me about the sacred flower, you’ll be fine… Do you want something to serve as a token of my commitment?”

I hesitated. I want something to prove that it’s not just an empty promise, but what could I receive that would make me believe him?

Even if he piles on money and jewels, it won’t serve as proof.

“Um… like a document or something?”

That’s the only thing I can think of.

Lars-sama, upon hearing this, had a blank expression for a few seconds before bursting out laughing.

“You’re amazing, you’re okay with a document?”

“Well, I thought that a document would be the most trustworthy, so…”

In this country, a document is a piece of paper that serves to prove things like debts and inheritance, and is also used to record business agreements.

It is all deposited in the temple and the most important ones are reviewed by the chief priest, who keeps a copy for himself to prevent tampering.

There is nothing more reliable than a document when it comes to making promises that cannot be escaped by saying “there’s no proof!” when broken.

That’s why I ended up thinking about a document.

After laughing for a while, Lars-sama said to me,

“So, if I make the document, will you do as I say?”

“Yes. Since you are willing to go to such lengths, I will leave everything to Lars-sama.”

Even though he knows that I am the daughter of a traitor, he is willing to help me, even hiding my skills. And with a document. If you don’t accept this, you are a very distrusting person.

“But is it really okay to laugh so much?”

I thought it was a good idea, but was it strange?

“No, I think it’s very good. I liked the idea. I want to help you even more now. And if I can use your skills, the research on the sacred flower will progress.”

And Lars-sama added.

“I thought this might lead to the future I saw.”

“The future Lars-sama saw… was a dream where my father became a traitor?”

It doesn’t seem like a very good dream to me.

“In that dream, I didn’t seem to be worried about anything. It felt like the time had come.”

Lars-sama smiles.

“And after getting to know you like this, if something happens where you are captured as a traitor’s daughter, I won’t be able to stay calm, but in my dreams, I didn’t worry about you.”

That’s why, Lars-sama continues.

“I’ll protect you so that my vision of the future comes true.”

Lars-sama, who said this lightly, rings the bell on the table and calls the servant.

Sitting next to Lars-sama, who says to prepare paper and a pen for documents, I didn’t know what face to make.

It’s the first time I’ve been told to protect by a noble man…

Chapter 38: My new life is starting

I don’t know how to explain my feelings at that time.

It was like I was sitting on a cloud.

Actually, I was sitting on the sofa in Lars-sama’s house.

At the same time, I can’t help but be aware of Lars-sama sitting next to me.

I don’t think he’s scary like before. It’s like he’s a warm stone that has been offered to me.

I feel like I’m swinging between not wanting to touch him to avoid getting too hot and wanting to touch him to feel his warmth.

Even I don’t know how to express it…

In any case, it was a shocking thing for me.

That a noble man said he would protect me.

(Now that I think about it, I expected that from Albert… but I gave up on it quickly)

Even when he was being friendly to me, he never said anything like that.

I’m sure he thought that a daughter of the Count family who made a fortune by literally kicking everyone around to the curb was just supposed to be in a good mood.

Even if Michelia doesn’t appear, I’m sure he intended to make a lover elsewhere.

But I can’t write letters in such a fluffy mood.

I received a refill of tea and calmed down after drinking it.

Then, for the first time in my life, I signed a document.

Lars-sama has come up with the text. Lars-sama wrote the wording smoothly and signed it in no time.

There was no word [skill] written there.

Just the fact that he will keep his promise.

That’s why I think.

(Lars-sama believes in me…)

Even if I change the content of the promise, he must accept it quietly. He is showing this by ambiguous words because he is ready to do so.

Even this alone makes me full of gratitude, but Lars-sama quickly sent a letter to my father.

The content is as follows.

[I protected Miss Linea who got lost outside while trying to go to the temple. I heard that she was cursed, and after talking with a priest together, I would like to help her lift the curse as a friend who feels sorry for her.]

It’s a very convenient story, but I wonder if it’s okay…

I became anxious, but Lars-sama just smiled and said, “Don’t worry.”

By the way, I ended up being a burden on Lars-sama’s house.

Regarding staying at the Duke’s house,

[It is a curse by magic, so we are considering remedy it over time by bringing it to a magician we know. For this reason, we have decided to have her stay at my house. Of course, she will also be able to attend the Academy, so please do not worry]

Lars-sama sent this message to my father.

“Even if he’s rotten, this is still the Duke’s house. Your father wouldn’t turn down an invitation from me.”

“Yes. As long as it’s the usual situation, there shouldn’t be any particular problems. However, I’m worried about the time when I was supposed to be used for something. Therefore, if Lars-sama claims to have taken me away and causes trouble…”

My father, who has no interest in me and constantly forgets my existence, doesn’t know what he would do if someone took the stone he was about to throw away.

I can’t even accurately predict what he would do exactly…but since he’s a cold-blooded man who had very little contact with me, that’s all I know.

“In that case, we’ll come up with another plan. We have various options. If you want to talk directly, I’ll visit him tomorrow.”

Lars-sama was smiling, but I wondered what other plans he had… I tilted my head.

“But are you sure? He’s the one who tried to invade our country, and I’m worried that my father might harm Lars-sama in the talks.”

“I can’t be easily disposed of, so don’t worry.”

At any rate, Lars-sama sent an emissary to explain the situation to the residence as well. This should make Katie feel reassured.

——But then Katie returned with the emissary from Lars-sama.

“I heard that My Lady needs a change of clothes and I thought it might be necessary…”

Katie had packed all of my clothes into a large bag and brought them.

“I was very surprised to hear that My Lady, who was supposed to be sleeping, was going out, but I’m relieved that you’re safe.”

And she said it with a relieved expression.

“I’m sorry for worrying you, Katie.”

“No, as long as you’re safe, that’s all that matters.”

I feel at ease seeing Katie’s kind smile. It’s really good that Katie is with me.

“Then, My Lady. The maid here will take care of your outfit, right? If that’s the case, I’ll go back now…”

It was when Katie bowed and tried to leave the Duke’s house.

“My Lady, if you want to keep your maid by your side, that’s fine. It seems like she has prepared for that as well.”

The housekeeper of the Duke’s house, who was instructing another maid to carry two large bags to the room, spoke out.

When I looked, Katie was holding a small bag. The maid’s room is small and she doesn’t have that many belongings, so it seemed that Katie’s baggage would fit well enough.

“In that case, Katie, may I ask you a favor? I would like you to work for me as my personal maid while you are staying here.”

“Y…yes, My Lady!”

Katie replied happily.

Thanks to Katie being there that day, I was able to avoid being terribly tense even though I was staying at someone else’s house, so it really helped.

And the next day.

“The talk is over.”

Around noon, Lars-sama returned after going out once and reported this to me as we were having afternoon tea.

Apparently, he went to see my father to discuss the matter in more detail.

“Thank you for your trouble, Lars-sama. So…”

“Yeah, we’re taking(adopting) you in.”

…huh? Taking in?

Chapter 39: There are inevitable things in life

I can’t keep up with the understanding…

What does it mean to take in? Does Lars-sama mean that he will adopt me? Does that mean my real father abandoned me? If that’s the case.

“S-Shall I call you father?”

“…”

Lars-sama smiled slightly after a moment of silence.

“I should explain the circumstances in detail. But there may be things you don’t want to know, okay?”

“Things I don’t want to know?”

Lars-sama had a slightly pitiful expression.

Oh, I’m sure this is it.

“Is it about my father’s behavior? In that case, there is no problem. He has never been kind to me and I was afraid that I would be killed if I went against his wishes by accident.”

I’m surprised that he is giving me away to Lars-sama instead of getting rid of the troublesome daughter.

“I see… Your father said that he didn’t know what to do with a cursed daughter and if it could be cured, he would leave it to me.”

When I urged him to do so, Lars-sama used euphemisms.

You shouldn’t have bothered… I know he is probably saying that he doesn’t need the cursed daughter or at least that you don’t want her.

“He said it wouldn’t be a problem to leave you with me. If you were to learn manners at the Duke house, there shouldn’t be a problem. However, it may be perceived as if you are marrying into the Duke family externally. I will take responsibility for that aspect.”

“It’s not fair to inconvenience Lars-sama like that!”

I stand up involuntarily.

“If that’s the case, I would prefer to be considered as dead and just hired as a commoner…”

“Calm down, Miss Linea. The story is not over yet.”

“…Yes.”

I take a deep breath and sit back down after being told with a gentle expression.

“I’m sorry for losing my temper.”

“It’s not surprising that you would be shocked. As for me, I was worried that you might start crying, so I think you are much calmer than I expected.”

I thanked Lars-sama again for his kind words.

“So, even if I think about your future, I think someone else needs to be your guardian. If that person is the guardian, people around you will probably think it’s okay to take care of you, and they shouldn’t think that your father, the Count, is pushing you on me.”

“…Is there such a person?”

As I asked, the door to the room was knocked. At the voice that answered, a servant from the Duke’s house came in.

“Excuse me, Your Grace Duke. Asher-sama has returned with a guest.”

At the servant’s words, Lars-sama said, “Let them come in.”

A guest?

(I wonder if it’s okay for me to be here)

If a daughter of the Elvasti family is present, anyone will be uncomfortable. And It would be a shame to see Lars-sama’s reputation suffer.

“Shall I leave the seat?”

“No, no. Asher has brought the guardian I just mentioned, so I really want you to be here.”

As we were having such a conversation, Asher-sama entered the room first.

The next person to appear was a man with a wavy light brown hair that he had trimmed on his shoulders and a white and purple trapezoidal hat. His purple and white vestments are so long at the sleeves and hem that only his fingertips and toes are visible. They are held in place by a black sash belt and a gold chain.

He is a temple priest. And an upper one. And young. I wonder if he is only about ten years older than me.

Why did you bring a priest to be my guardian?

I can only stare at the priest as if I were stunned.

“I came to hear your story, Your Excellency Duke. So this woman is the person in question.”

The priest turns his sharp eyes to me. I am afraid of the color of his eyes, which are like dark clouds.

“Thank you for coming today, Calva-dono. This is Miss Linea Elvasti.”

“Linea Elvasti. Sir Priest.”

The temple has a separate power from the secular king, and is an opponent that even nobles must respect.

The priest named Calva looks at me expressionlessly and nods.

“Unlike your father, you seem to know manners. There should be no problems for now.”

(…He’s an incredibly haughty person. I wonder if he’s from a noble family. Maybe even a family close to the royal family.)

If that’s the case, I can understand his attitude. If he has been living accepting the difference in status as a matter of course since he was a child, it is possible.

There are also ranks within the temple, and it is said that we have to respect them, and if your background is high, you should start at a decent level in the temple’s hierarchy, so it is unlikely that you will be corrected.

“First, please sit down, Calva-dono. I was in the middle of telling her why she needed a guardian. I’d appreciate it if you could listen together.”

“Alright.”

Calva-sama sits in the place where the servant pulled out the chair.

“Asher, please join us too.”

Encouraged by Lars-sama, Asher-sama also sat down.

I thought I wouldn’t see Asher-sama today, but it seems he went to meet Calva, a High Priest while he was absent.

The servant comes and serves tea to everyone again.

After that, Lars-sama started talking, probably because there were many confidential matters, the servants were asked to leave the room.

Chapter 40: About my plans for the future

“The reason why you are being watched over by this High Priest Calva is because you have skills.”

“Is it because it would be better for me to belong to the temple…?”

If I borrow the hand of the temple, that’s all there is. If the temple is watching over me, even if my father knows about my skills, it will be difficult for him to use them.

Lars-sama affirmed, “That’s right.”

“There is a significant difference when there is or is not the protection of the temple when you are pinned down. And you don’t want to be used by the royal family, do you? They are probably going to use you up (destroy you).”

“Do I have to be cautious even about the royal family…?”

I was cautious about my father, but I didn’t think about anything else. I just wanted the royal family not to put me in prison because of my skills.

If it became known that I have such skills…

(If I were to be used, it would be as a royal bodyguard or something? It seems tough to follow someone everywhere)

I can’t just follow someone around. I’ll probably hear a lot of bad things about the daughter of the Count Elvasti house being taken into the royal family.

If I’m not careful, I’ll be put in prison as punishment for my actions…and if someone in the royal family accidentally gets hurt, I’ll end up in prison again. That’s too much.

“But why use me up (destroy me)?”

If they just want to use me, I can still understand.

“It’s because Count Elvasti is on bad terms with the royal family. Previously, when the royal family’s debt ballooned, it seems that Count Elvasti charged exorbitant interest and lent money with a rude attitude. At that time, there were also several shady stories that involved the Count, and as a result, the royal family has a negative view of the Count.”

What is my father doing…

Although it is possible to show some flexibility to a certain extent, it’s too much to expect them to tolerate such an disliked attitude and even to silently admit to the wrongdoings.

“Part of the reason the Count has a bad reputation is because the royal family has encouraged rumors about him.”

I nodded in agreement with Asher-sama’s words. That makes sense.

Then Assistant High Priest Calva – a higher-ranked priest than I had expected – interjected.

“By the way, have you confirmed the details of this lady’s skills? If it’s a skill with such subtle details, I don’t see how it can be used, so I’d like to know the details beforehand.”

That’s why, it seems that Assistant High Priest Calva only heard that I have [skills]. Lars replies.

“The details are still unknown. It is certain that she has the ability to keep the people she desires away from her…right?”

I am looked at by both Lars-sama and Assistant High Priest Calva.

I whispered about the skill.

“Well, it’s the ability to block the voices of the people I specify or to block the approach of the other party. And also objects…”

“You can block objects too?”

I nod to Calva-sama’s question.

“…that’s why.”

Asher-sama muttered.

“At the Academy, when a bucket of water was scattered by your side, you seemed to have suffered no harm. Did you “block” the water?”

“Yes, it was like that. If I wished not to get wet right away…it happened.”

“Just by thinking, huh.”

Calva-sama seems to be thinking about something.

“Depending on the situation, it may be useful during the High Priest’s travels…”

It seems that he was considering whether it could be used for work. It is not wrong for him to try to protect the High Priest as an assistant, but I wish he had not spoken out loud.

“I didn’t think you had such skills. It’s like a Block Skill, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

I nod to Lars-sama.

“How is it, Assistant High Priest Calva?”

“I was already planning to accept it because it was a request from Duke-sama, but this is beyond my expectations. However, it will be more useful than just shooting flames. In addition, in terms of the person’s situation and for external purposes, I agree to keep it secret.”

Lars-sama and Asher-sama seem relieved by Calva-sama’s response.

Anyway, since the Assistant High Priest says such a thing, it seems that Lars-sama has a certain level of influence in the temple.

(I’m glad I met such a person…)

And even in a situation where nothing is going well, he is a wonderful person who will help me. I must live every day with gratitude.

“I was told that my father is not aware of my guardianship of the temple?”

“It’s okay. I don’t mind telling him personally, but… It’s not like he can keep a cursed daughter at home, and I was told to do as I liked. Just to be safe, I had someone write a letter for me. However, I think it’s strange to ask you to be a guardian, since the age difference between you is too close for a foster daughter.”

Lars-sama continues, “If you just take care of her, it’s fine.”

“If it doesn’t matter who we put under guardianship, I would like to make sure that she remains in her position as a decree holder and that we can secure the evidence.”

“I see.”

Calva-sama seems to have understood.

He must have received some explanation about my father as well.

“Then, as you have told me, I will take guardianship of the girl. And proceed to adopt her as my brother’s daughter. And if anything should come from her former house, Lord Duke will take care of it.”

(Am I really going to be able to leave my current house?)

I’m so glad to hear that.

No matter how coldly I am treated by this High Priest Calva, if I can become someone other than a member of that household, I feel like I can try my best.

When I unconsciously smiled at High Priest Calva, he looked momentarily flustered and averted his gaze.

(…He doesn’t seem to have any ill will towards me, so it should be okay.)

Besides, I will be living at Lars-sama’s house.

I was trying to avoid the temple, so I was wondering what to do when a priest came out, but this could be a rather good result.

(After all this, am I really just going to eat sweets?)

I, who had this doubt, would find out the details of Lars-sama’s [cooperation] from that day on.

TL: Sentences are neutral, not sure Calva is a boy or girl because.

Chapter 41: The cooperation consisted of eating sweets

“First of all, this.”

After Calva-sama and the others left, Lars-sama called me into the reception room and showed me beautiful sweets…flower confections.

Translucent thin red or purple petals. Mille-feuille with cream sandwiched in between.

I held my mouth with both hands and tried not to shout.

“How beautiful and delicious…”

Most flower confections are made into candy or sugar sweets because they are expensive and reproduce the appearance of the original sacred flower more.

But this is different.

It’s meant to be eaten as soon as it’s made.

“The petals are like pie dough. Come on, eat it.”

Invited with a smile, I immediately reach out.

Ah, I wonder what this confection tastes like. And what kind of flower was the original sacred flower?

(Ah…, it feels like I forgot something…)

I take a bite-sized flower sweet and put it in my mouth.

The fluffy texture of the sweets and the light sound of the sweets breaking apart. The sweetness that melts in my mouth and disappears while I am thinking I want to enjoy the aftertaste more… makes me want to eat the next one.

I took a breath of sadness and said, “Hmm?”

There is a sense of discomfort… with myself. Like, suddenly it got hot…

“Can I have some water?”

I asked the Duke’s servant and drank the water that was brought to me, and I took a sigh of relief.

Lars-sama looked at me and asked.

“It seems like something has changed?”

“Yes, I feel hot somehow.”

“I see…”

Lars-sama instructed the servant to bring the next confection.

What was brought was a blue flower in a glass dish.

“Please use the spoon.”

I’m lucky to be able to eat another flower confection.

Thinking so, I naturally scooped up the flower with the spoon placed together.

The flower was cold and sweet, melting on the tongue like a thinly shaved ice cream.

Then I felt my body heat gradually disappear.

No, rather cold?

“I feel cold somehow.”

Lars-sama, who heard my answer, began to make notes in the notebook he took out of his pocket.

“I see, it seems that sacred flowers grown in the ice and snow have stronger effects…”

“… effect?”

That’s when I finally remembered.

Even after making it into a confection, the effect of the sacred flower can remain. Especially for me who has tasted it and had vivid dreams because of its effect, I wonder if other sweets made with the flower would also have an effect.

“But I’ve eaten sweets before and never had anything like this happen…”

“I’m sure it’s a problem with the ratio of sacred flowers used. Personally, I like the original color of the sacred flower to appear as is, so I think I put in more than usual.”

“I understand.”

I close my mouth because it seems like I might say something negative about Oji-sama if I continue.

It can’t be helped. Oji-sama wasn’t deceived and he isn’t the maker of the confections, so he doesn’t know how much sacred flower is used.

In normal sweets, the shape of the sacred flower is barely visible in the syrup used to make them… That’s why there was no effect until now.

Rather, it’s just that Lars-sama, who goes out of his way to use a lot of sacred flowers, is strange.

Thinking about that, I shivered from the cold.

“Well, try eating a little more of these sweets. It will help balance things out.”

“Yes, thank you.”

I was offered a flower-shaped confection similar to a mille-feuille and I ate another one. As a result, the coldness subsided and I felt just right.

“Would you like to try this one next?”

After dinner, flower-shaped confections were served again as dessert.

This time, small bell-shaped flowers that shone golden were laid out on top of and between chocolate cakes in a light blue dish.

The color scheme was very beautiful.

The taste was also not too sweet thanks to the slightly bitter chocolate cake, and I might have accidentally eaten too many of them.

However, this time there was no effect.

Lars-sama, seeing my puzzled expression, said,

“I think this probably affects dreams. I’m sure you’ll have good dreams, not nightmares.”

I believed Lars-sama’s words, but…

That night, I had a dream where even the grass, trees, flowers, and even the clouds in the park were laughing.

I wonder if I’ve become weird, I thought as my head became chaotic… After I woke up, I was a little worried.

At the breakfast table, I was given a very expectant look by Lars-sama and asked, “Did you have a good dream?”

“I was somehow tired…”

That was all I could say.

After that, for three days, I ate sweets and cakes that came out after meals, morning, noon, and night, and just expressed my opinions.

It seems that I have no choice but to spend some time in the Duke’s house while I prepare to re-entry in the Academy.

Even so, I am glad to be able to help Lars-sama.

To be honest, even taking classes as part of my bride training is not that enjoyable. Maybe the history classes? I was thinking that I should listen seriously.

As for studying, I don’t know how far I have progressed, and there is nothing I can do about it.

However, I have become overwhelmed with the feeling of pure boredom.

So I asked Katie, the servant, if she knew of any adventure books.

Kind-hearted Katie immediately recommended her favorite.

“In that case, My Lady, I recommend [The Story of Heroine Adelle]. It is a story about a female heroine who sets out on a journey to defeat the evil emperor who created monsters and ruled the world.”

“Looks good. Maybe I’ll get him to buy it for me…”

When I thought about it, I wondered.

Where did my living expenses end up coming from?

Chapter 42: Hidden anxiety

“It’s fine with me. I’m just taking the form of looking after you as an adopted daughter because I was asked to do so. You can buy anything you want normally. I also called a dressmaker, so I think it will come tomorrow.”

Asher-sama narrows his red-brown eyes and smiles slightly.

“T-Thank you. Um, I will return it someday.”

I don’t know when I will be able to do so.

Calva-sama’s older brother… was it? Even if I was taken in as a foster daughter of the Count Radin family, I am a foster daughter who cannot be used as a political tool.

I am not confident that I can be an asset if I go to the temple if something happens.

(Maybe after this incident is over, it would be better to have a job of my own…)

When I think about various things, I feel that it might be better to do so.

Then I smile wryly at my own way of thinking.

If I were the person I used to be, I wouldn’t have even thought about having a job.

There are no noble ladies who help with the territory’s business, so I had no aversion to work, but I had never thought about having a job to live before.

As someone who only has knowledge as a noble lady, I knew it would be difficult to live in the commoners’ world.

“Don’t worry about the cost. As for the things I arrange, I do them because I like them, so don’t worry about it. I’d like you to consider this as part of the cooperation fee.”

“Even if you call it a cooperation fee, I’ve received a lot of expensive flowers and confections…”

I eat the confections without worrying about getting fat, but one of them is worth the price of a dress.

It’s expensive to have something that disappears in just a few minutes, even if it’s just for one day, be equivalent to a dress that you wear for at least five hours.

“I’m having you be a test subject. Maybe you should think of it as cooperating in the development of a medicine?”

“A medicine?”

“Yes, I also want to make medicinal confections. When I’m researching various effects, it’s helpful to have humans who have a strong reaction. For most people, eating delicious things is just… that’s all it is.”

If it’s like that, I can understand. If it’s something you don’t know what side effects will come from…

“It seems that the effects of the sacred flower I used are coming out as expected. Moreover, you seem to be the type who is greatly affected by it. My family’s butler said that even if they ate the same thing “I might feel a little relaxed” at best.

It seems that other people also ate flower confection as a comparison. But the house butler…

I remember the white pointed mustaches and the beautifully combed white hair of the house butler of the Duke’s family.

Maybe the butler often tries flower confection because he is a servant? If that’s the case, when you work at this Duke’s house, you might be able to put flower confection in your mouth at a relatively high rate.

“I want you to eat various things and there may be other things I want you to cooperate with, so don’t worry… That’s a difficult way to put it in a fluffy way.”

Lars-sama thinks for a moment and adds on.

“In addition to eating flower sweets, there are other things I would like your cooperation with. For now, ask for things you need in your daily life just as you did when you were at home. And when you lend your hand to other things, I will give you a reward in the form of a reward.”

Then Lars-sama chuckles.

“Besides, as long as you have a skill, you will not be abandoned from the house you entered as a foster child, and you should be treated with respect. Especially Assistant High Priest Calva, will not abandon you as promised. It would be good if you knew that much.”

After thanking Lars-sama for saying this, I decided to return to my own room.

Just as I started walking out into the corridor, Asher-sama, who had been standing silently behind Lars-sama until now, comes out.

I thought he was going out somewhere, but he caught up to me.

“What you really want to know isn’t that, right?”

“Huh…?”

I stopped walking, looking up at Asher-sama who was lined up beside me, and averted my eyes.

I met his purple eyes.

“Lars has a reason and can’t just bring anyone into his family. That’s why the talk went to the Assistant High Priest. But just because the mediation is over doesn’t mean he will let go. You should feel reassured.”

“…”

I didn’t know how to answer.

As I was at a loss, Asher-sama promptly left.

But I felt kindness from his back.

“What I… wanted to know.”

It was only when Asher-sama told me that I realized it.

Why Lars-sama, who was helping me, didn’t offer to be my guardian himself? I tried not to even think about the question.

If he had no intention of interacting with me outside of the confections, then his kindness was only because I had value as a useful person. Even if it was temporary, I didn’t want to think that I wasn’t welcome as a member of the family.

That’s how much I, who had no one to rely on, was driven into a corner.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to expose that I was dependent on Lars-sama and be disliked.

Asher-sama saw through my feelings.

“Thank you.”

I tell him, who has already disappeared from sight, and return to the room——.

For some reason, I slept all day.

Chapter 43: I fell into a deep sleep

“Linea-sama, Linea-sama!”

…I can hear a voice calling from somewhere.

But I just want to stay in this warm, fluffy feeling, floating in a hot bath, and not be awakened.

I want to stay immersed in the comfort for a little longer.

“She won’t wake up even for confections …”

I also hear someone worrying.

I feel sorry. Then my consciousness sinks back into sleep again.

I wonder why I am so sleepy.

Someone whispers in my heart.

——It’s what you wished for yourself.

——You wanted to block everything out and distance yourself from everything.

——You were hurt too much. The future you endured was darker than you imagined.

——You had to endure terrible feelings to escape from there.

Ah, I realize.

I was really afraid.

I went out alone even though I knew it was dangerous.

I’ve been chased by ruffians and pushed my way through them with skill, even though I’ve never done that before.

I really didn’t want to do any of it.

But I thought that if I stayed like this, I would never be able to get a future that makes me feel happy.

…I tried too hard and got tired.

——It’s okay to sleep. It’s okay to sleep.

Along with such a voice, my sleep becomes deeper and I can’t hear anyone’s voice.

However, I suddenly remembered.

(Could this be …? The influence of Block Skill?)

A skill that can block [dislike] things.

Because I was tired of life and tired of living … am I hiding in my sleep and getting away from the outside world?

A feeling of [is this not good enough] rises in my mind.

——Even so, it’s better to rest a little.

——Good night, good night.

I was whispered and my consciousness was momentarily interrupted …

Suddenly, my consciousness rises again.

I can hear Katie’s voice.

“My Lady, the book you requested has arrived. It looks like it was arranged for you immediately. Please wake up and take your time reading today.”

At those words, I wake up.

I saw a white canopy cloth.

For a moment, I had the illusion that I was in the clouds, but I soon felt thirsty in my throat and realized that it was different.

I woke up from my sleep, didn’t I?

“My Lady!”

Katie, holding a book, smiled with a relieved expression.

“G-Good morning! I was relieved to be awakened in the morning.”

Now let’s wash our face. We have also prepared tea for you, she said.

I stood up and nodded, knowing from the direction of the light coming in through the window that it was indeed morning. The light is coming from the east.

“I’ve been sleeping since noon…”

I remember vaguely that various people were calling out to me.

It must have been around dinnertime when Katie called someone because I wouldn’t wake up even if she shook me. If I didn’t wake up even if she shook me, it was only natural.

“I was really surprised. No matter how many times I called out, you wouldn’t wake up…Even though His Grace the Duke gave you those waking-up confections, you were still sleeping. The doctor was also called, but he said it was just sleeping, so he said to wait a little longer…But it’s good now.”

After washing my face, Katie happily handed me a toner and said.

“But since you woke up properly in the morning, you must have been really tired. I will also inform His Grace the Duke, so please have some tea.”

After using toner and changing into my pajamas, Katie prepared tea for me and left the room.

Sitting on the couch in my room and sipping tea, I mutter to myself,

“Why do I sleep so much…?”

Then I remembered what I thought about in my dream.

“Is it the effect of the Block Skill?”

Certainly, it could be consistent.

It’s true that I was already tired of life, and I was feeling overwhelmed thinking I might go to prison.

But even before that, there wasn’t necessarily a bright future in sight. Yet I never had trouble waking up from deep sleep.

Since this change occurred after I acquired the skill, it could possibly be the effect of the skill.

And when I remembered Katie’s words that woke me up, I thought it might be because my mind was more tired than I realized.

“Let’s take it easy today.”

I thanked Lars-sama, who came to check on me, and reassured him with a bright attitude before having Katie bring me a book.

The book was more interesting than I imagined.

At first, Adelle wasn’t even a heroine.

But she had a hidden skill. That was… the ability to understand the hearts of monsters.

If she had not encountered monsters, it would have been a skill that she would have never noticed.

The continent’s emperor created monsters to invade other countries, and they also came to the border village where Adelle lived.

People tried to defeat the monsters, but it was difficult and many people were injured. Adelle listened to the monsters’ sorrowful hearts and pierced them as they wished.

In front of Adelle, the monsters behaved quietly and waited for their time.

Adelle saved the village, but more importantly, she was seen as a companion to the monsters and was driven out of the village.

But Adelle decided to set out on a journey with the goal of freeing the monsters, even if it meant facing adversity.

People are gradually drawn to Adelle, who sticks to her convictions even in adversity. And as she helps free the monsters, she also helps defeat the emperor…

I read the book in two days.

Actually, I could have read it in one day, but Katie worried that I would take proper breaks, and I was watched over by Lars-sama and Asher-sama for three meals, and finally I was told that staying up late was absolutely not allowed.

After finishing reading, I felt very comfortable and was able to have hope for the future.

“I have started to think that if I try my best, I might be rewarded someday.”

Because I am not alone either.

I can believe that I can see light in the future like the heroine Adelle.

Besides…

“Now I know why I never read these books before.”

Before, I didn’t feel like I could have allies because everyone around me seemed like an enemy.

Furthermore, I must have been more depressed by the difference between myself and heroine Adelle.

Because Adelle had a kind mother and friends.

Even though she was expelled from the village, she lived a life protected by such kindness.

But I didn’t have that. Oji-sama is the only one who is kind to me.

And Oji-sama also has a family and it didn’t seem like he could take me in, and if I relied on him, I thought he would run away.

Because even though he knew the situation, Oji-sama never said the words “I will take you in.”

Several days after becoming more positive in this way, the Assistant High Priest Calva, came.

“The adoption procedures have been completed. From tomorrow, you will be my brother’s adoptive daughter and my niece, and you will return to school the day after tomorrow… Can you do it?”

It’s probably his kindness that he asked me.

Now that I have slept and my mind has recovered, and my mood has cleared up after reading a book, I can see this person’s sincerity, I think.

In any case, from the day after tomorrow, I will not be Lady Count Elvasti’s daughter, but will go to school as Lady Count Radin’s daughter.

Chapter 44: I’m going back to school

Unlike last month when it was still soft and warm, the temperature has risen a little now and there are fewer girls using cloaks or scarves.

There are also no male students wearing cloaks and coming to the Academy.

Looking at them through the window of the carriage, I have a strange feeling (so much time has passed since the seasons changed).

Such people are at the entrance of the Academy, chatting with acquaintances after getting off the carriage.

In front of the square with a fountain, a new carriage stops near a wide staircase and a large open door.

The carriage has a shiny brown body with a servant and a person in a green and black lined outfit.

Although it is a common carriage shape, there are not many students at the Academy. Some people tilt their heads when they see the crest shining on the body of the carriage.

“Did the Count Radin family have a daughter?”

“I heard she was still six years old…”

“There is no reason to send a child to school. Could they have taken someone as a foster daughter?”

“Is there anyone in that temple in the house?”

I can hear voices saying these things even though I am in the carriage.

…It’s scary to go outside. When I go out and am noticed, and it is understood that it is [me], their reaction will be.

“Don’t worry. You’re not alone.”

I can’t help but look at Asher-sama next to me at his words.

How does Asher-sama see even the state of my own heart that I didn’t notice? What kind of world does this person see?

Though I wonder, I nodded at the helpful advice.

At that time, the door is opened by a servant outside.

Asher-sama went down first and extended his hand to me.

Before I knew it, I noticed the warmth of Asher-sama’s hand when I overlaid my cold hand. And I also realized that I was terribly nervous.

I was about to scold my shaking legs… and then I realized.

Oh, I should have blocked their voices. But I’m worried that I won’t know what they said later…

Thinking that, I left only three people among the humans looking this way and blocked the rest.

The fewer insults I hear, the better.

Of the three people left, one was a boy with a somewhat disgusted look at my appearance, and the others were a man and woman who were purely surprised. This should be fine.

When I go out, everyone around me seems to be talking about something, moving their mouths.

Eventually, they have disgusted looks on their faces…I wonder if this person was a friend of my ex-fiancé Albert. He spoke the expected words.

“Did the house of Count Radin get taken over by the house of Count Elvasti?”

He starts talking to a friend next to him.

The content is that the house of Count Radin is also caught in the venomous fangs, and there is a possibility that the daughter who used to be there was sold off.

In other words, I am no longer the daughter of Count Elvasti, so the engagement has been broken off…but since they are not talking about that, do they not know yet?

In the first place, I have not yet met Count Radin.

It is because the procedures have just been completed and because it is also for the count to talk to his family, there is a possibility that strange misunderstandings will occur if I do not visit together with Assistant High Priest Calva.

Assistant High Priest Calva, is quite busy.

Therefore, after visiting me, he did not have the time to have a thorough conversation with the house in question.

(If I think about it, Asher-sama also went to the temple to explain about the “foster daughter”.)

It must be difficult to go out for a long time.

On my side, I just prioritized coming to the Academy as soon as possible to restart my studies in response to Lars-sama’s request.

Thanks to that, the order is a little messed up, but I decided not to think about it because my guardian, Calva, said [there is no problem].

By the way, I will meet the Count Radin family after leaving the Academy today.

Of course, according to the schedule of my guardian.

Now, the remaining two who I didn’t block looked round-eyed for a while, and then started talking with their friends next to them.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s strange to say that she’s going to be a foster daughter. There was only one daughter in the Count Elvasti family.”

I almost nod to the extremely reasonable statement.

Normally, it is not considered to send a single daughter to be a foster daughter. Because they can also become a piece to enrich the territory, they are not easily let go.

“Besides, isn’t that knight of the Confectionary Duke?”

“Is Duke Svald involved too?”

The person who seemed to have realized this has a confused face.

Lars-sama is not a person who is easily taken in by the Count Elvasti or has to borrow money. You will wonder what the connection was.

“Is everything okay?”

After getting off the carriage and letting go of Asher-sama’s hand, he asked me this.

I couldn’t help but smile at his question, which was not overly indulging but not neglectful either.

“Yes. Let’s go. I have to return you to Lars-sama.”

“Understood.”

Along with Asher-sama, who gave a short answer, I head towards Lars-sama, who has already arrived.

This was something we had agreed upon beforehand.

Although we could have gone to school together, he said, “Rather than that, can’t we let many people, especially those who are related to me, know your position all at once?” I wonder what he meant by that?

With a wry smile in my heart, I go inside the Academy building.

The people gathered at the entrance made way for me from the front, opening up a path from the stairs to the door.

Well, that’s convenient.

Furthermore, there are no people trying to make ridiculous excuses or trying to trip me because Asher-sama is here.

What a comfortable feeling.

And in the entrance hall, Lars-sama, surrounded by friends, notices me and raises his hand.

“I’ve been waiting for you, Linea.”

Chapter 45: New people to get involved with

As I approach as invited, Lars introduces the three people there to me.

“This is Kvasir, and this is Einar. They are in the same grade as me.”

“Nice to meet you, my name is Linea Radin.”

After greeting the two men who were introduced first, there was a stir around me.

“Radin? Is it really true that you became a foster child?”

“There’s no way the Count’s house would adopt someone. The younger brother is the Assistant High Priest, right?”

I chuckle inside at the voices of those who I didn’t block it out in the slightest.

It seems that the fact that I became a foster child properly spread around.

This is the first step.

I remember what Lars-sama told me.

The incident when I asked why I had to return to the Academy.

“Even if you could accuse your father, even if you didn’t bear the guilt in the current situation, you will be seen as a villainess by those around you. There is a high possibility of that.”

Because, Lars-sama continued.

“Once people feel that something is bad, it is difficult for them to change their evaluation.”

Being conservative is a measure to ensure safety.

Since I have come here without any problems so far, it is easy to make a judgment that I will continue to do so. For example… continuing to be on guard against me as a villainess.

“Even if you accuse your father, there will be people who think that you were also involved in the invasion. And if your accusation does not come in time by any chance, even if you are confined to the temple, you may be subjected to some harm, or the royal family may negotiate with the temple to present you as a criminal.”

“The royal family?”

Would they put that much pressure on the temple?

After all, the temple is a power of heaven.

Each nation has used its power as an umbrella to build itself up, and has been strengthened by successive generations.

Would it not be inconvenient to put pressure on the temple and have the king’s gate broken, or have various events shown in a bad light by the temple side?

“If there is someone who fabricates evidence to the point that you are involved in the suspicion of other nobles, the royal family will do so. And even in the temple, if they think it is advantageous to not stand against the nobles who perform charity, they will give you up.”

“To the point of fabrication…”

“Someone who holds a grudge against Count Elvasti. Someone who runs into excessive action from a sense of justice. Such a person might do it. I cannot predict everything because I do not know how they will actually act.”

I understand what Lars-sama is saying.

“In other words, I am an existence that is planted in people’s consciousness as a villainess. That’s why I have to create the impression that I am a person separated from the Elvasti family, and even if I can’t get allies… I have to change the impression at least?”

To avoid being trapped in a lie.

To not become the target of humans who swing their sense of justice.

Lars-sama smiles satisfied with my answer.

“I’m glad you understand. I’m going to speak to a few people at the Academy so that they can get involved with you. First, I’ll let them know that you became the young lady of the Count Radin family, and then show that you can interact with people normally.”

Lars-sama leaned forward and continued.

“It may be tough at first. But if you know that you are not alone, and that there are allies like me and others, the perception of those who just hated you should change. It’s a way to not forcibly make you into the situation of your dreams. Will you accept it?”

I nodded.

Because I understood that Lars-sama was doing this to avoid my biggest fear.

Certainly, I don’t want to go to the Academy.

Even if I can’t hear the voices, the hostile glances still pierce through me.

But it’s so that I can live freely and not end up in prison in the future.

“I’ll do my best.”

I decided to implement Lars-sama’s plan.

Even though it’s now known that I became a foster child, there are still many who doubt my connection to the Elvasti family.

So I want to impress that I am a safe person by interacting with the people Lars-sama introduced me to.

…I wonder if it’s okay?

Since the past is the past, I still have nests of anxiety in my heart.

“She is in the same year as you. Her name is Brenda.”

The girl who bowed was the one with golden tea-colored hair styled into a chignon and hair ornaments.

I know her.

She is the cousin of the Duke Svald family and the young lady of the Count Orian family.

Since it is well known that there are only a few young ladies of the same age as nobles in each class, she is someone who studies in the same classroom as me.

She is a person who has had no particular contact with me (because she probably didn’t want to) and has not bullied me, but on the other hand, she has not extended a hand to me (because she probably didn’t want to).

I’m more worried about whether she has a good impression of me or not.

I’m here because I decided to follow Duke Lars, but…

“Even though we are in the same class, we haven’t really talked much, Linea-sama. My name is Brenda.”

In any case, she showed a friendly smile.

Chapter 46: It would be nice if I could become a new friend…

“I have heard various circumstances. It must have been difficult, Linea-sama.”

Brenda looks at me with a sympathetic expression.

I don’t know if that is her true feelings or if she was asked by Lars-sama, but I try to smile.

Lars-sama is trying to make allies for me.

Therefore, since he has prepared people who will understand my circumstances and cooperate with me, I don’t want to oppose his feelings.

I must never show my doubts on my face.

If they also decided to cooperate, they will try to understand me, and if I show a face of distrust at that time, it will be difficult and they will feel resistance.

There is nothing good for either of us.

“But thanks to Lars-sama, I was able to meet good parents. I think I can spend the rest of my life peacefully and quietly now.”

The other two men also relaxed their cheeks with a relieved look at my calm response.

“If anything happens, please tell me, Miss Linea. If there is anything I can do, please let me know and I will lend you my hand as much as you need.”

The blue-haired young man with the proper aristocratic appearance said so.

I have heard the name Einar before.

I think he is the child of the Fogell Marquis family. He is not a relative of the Duke Svald family, but he must have a close relationship with them.

“I look forward to a long relationship with you, Miss Linea. I also like confections, so I would be happy if you could invite me to a tea party sometime.”

The other young man, Kvasir, also responded cheerfully. Moreover, he’s talking about a tea party invitation in such a place…

(Because they are making statements in a situation where they cannot be invited, right?)

Unfortunately, I don’t remember his name. He is at the Academy, so he must be of noble origin, I think.

Should I ask Lars-sama later?

At that point, Brenda responded to the topic of sweets.

“Well, you like confections, don’t you? I’d love to know what you like.”

“Yes, please.”

I can somehow manage the topic of confections .

It would be nice if I could interact with her, who is a collaborator, somewhat cordially.

(It’s okay, it’s okay. Because Lars-sama has gone to so much trouble, at least I should try to respond to that)

Deep down, I’m still scared.

Because I’ve never had a friendly interaction with the students at the Academy. I’m afraid she just decided to cooperate out of a sense of duty to Lars-sama and hates me.

But I can’t keep going like this.

First of all, I need to repay the person standing next to me to Lars-sama.

“Lars-sama, thank you for bringing Asher-sama with me. Even though it was because I was sick, I was worried about returning to school after taking such a long break, so it was very reassuring.”

Lars-sama accepts this with a calm expression.

“I’m glad it was helpful for you. I want you to stay healthy so we can talk about the confections again. See you later.”

Lars-sama waves and heads towards the classroom where their lesson will be held.

“Shall we go too?”

Brenda asks and I smile and nod.

“Yes, let’s do that.”

I move with her towards the hall where the lesson will be held.

It is a spacious hall with beautiful desks and chairs arranged in it.

Desks and chairs with white and green or gold decorative patterns arranged around the distant desk that serves as the lectern.

Etiquette class is a time to review what I have learned from a tutor at home and learn about etiquette in foreign countries.

Occasionally, ambassadors from other countries participate in the Kingdom’s parties, so the class is held to make sure there are no blunders at that time.

But for me, etiquette class is not such a fun thing.

It’s not a problem to practice with a teacher as a partner. I have also studied with a tutor at home (although if Oji-sama hadn’t protested, I might have forgotten about that tutor).

However, when it comes to practicing with someone else for the purpose of practice, I will naturally be alone.

It was always common for me to be laughed at while smirking.

“Would you like to practice with me?”

Brenda immediately approached me with this voice.

“T-Thank you.”

Even if it was requested by Lars-sama, I am grateful.

After all, it was very miserable to practice facing the wall alone.

But what will her friends do? I’m sure there was also another young lady who was usually with her… When I turned my gaze around to look for her.

“It’s okay, Linea-sama,” whispered Brenda.

“My friends know that I will be working with Linea-sama. And they are willing to work with the three of us.”

In the direction that she turned her gaze, I saw the three ladies who always teamed up with Brenda facing each other.

Feeling relieved, I became a little sad.

I was really disliked and avoided.

I wondered why Brenda agreed to be associated with me. I wanted to ask.

Chapter 47: I felt like I was about to fall apart on the way home

Despite being somewhat defeated, I finished today’s lesson.

I am relieved when I am told that it is over.

I was not alone, but maybe because it was the first time, I felt somewhat tired…

“Thank you for accompanying me today, Linea-sama.”

Miss Brenda says that to me, and I become confused.

“No, I’m the one who should thank you. Did I do something clumsy? Please let me know if there is anything strange.”

I honestly don’t know what to do, so I can only say something like that.

I was honestly not good at conversation with women…friends or something like that. I continued to respond to people I only knew by their common appearance, but I wonder if that was good.

Then Miss Brenda opens her eyes wide and laughs happily after a few seconds.

“Oh, really, you can’t tell until you talk. Such a pure person.”

Although I was told that, I have no idea what she is talking about at all.

Pure?

Where?

I only intended to make a typical superficial response…

Thinking that it would not be good to show my confusion outwardly, I smiled and pretended not to know anything.

Smiling is a lady’s life. I still thank the tutor who taught me this and said that it would solve everything.

“I heard you have plans later. I also have plans to leave early, so let’s go together to the entrance.”

“Yes.”

Not only to announce that I have made a friend, Miss Brenda also walks down the hallway with me.

“I’m sure she bought it with money.”

As I walk, I hear those words.

I expected to be told this, but when I wondered who said it, it was from Duke Augren’s daughters with platinum hair.

“She bought her fiance with money. Even her friend and the selfishness of changing her family name to get a friend can all be solved with money. Isn’t her father quite indulgent to that daughter?”

My feet stop.

After my head becomes completely blank, a burning feeling wells up.

The words of buying or not buying are fine. I’ve been told that countless times and have gotten used to it.

But the words that my father is indulgent to his daughter, I couldn’t ignore no matter what.

(Is my father really indulgent to his daughter…)

“I wonder if you’re talking about fathers who are really indulgent to their daughters, who allow their beautiful servants to always serve at their side instead of maids, or who use their influence to pressure other households to grant their daughter’s wishes, even if it means coercing people they want to add to their servant roster.”

I can’t help but speak my mind.

But I’m not talking to Duke Augren’s daughter. My conversation partner is Miss Brenda.

I try to leave again, but Miss Brenda has a slightly surprised expression, although she lifts the corners of her mouth, so she doesn’t seem offended.

“There are families like that, aren’t there? I’ve heard even more impressive stories.”

And she continues the conversation.

So naturally, I asked Miss Brenda.

“What kind of stories? If they’re not a secret, I would be happy if you could tell me.”

“It might be a common story to whip a servant who uses their charms on the master, and then throw them out into the winter sky. The story goes that the governess was jealous that a servant was close with their charge, and threw them out into the forest without their clothes.”

Oh, that seems like the actions of a villainess, like the story of the Maiden of Salvation I read the other day.

I was trembling, wondering if there were really people who would do that.

“How scary…”

Gazes pierce my back as I mutter to myself…

When I take a peek out of curiosity, Duke Augren’s daughter is looking at me with a hateful, horrified expression.

In my heart, I whispered to myself, “Did she really do that?”

She must be angry at having her actions publicly announced.

But she can’t say anything.

If she confronts me, it will mean acknowledging that the current topic is about her.

And a few of her followers are averting their gaze from Duke Augren’s daughter. Perhaps they’ve had a servant taken from them before.

“Is it possible to collapse from within…”

When I whispered softly, Miss Brenda whispered back.

“Because of the issue of your father’s power, it is not so easy. To shoot the enemy, you must first knock down those who are standing in the way.”

But Miss Brenda smiled.

“If that is necessary, Lars-sama must already have thought about it.”

I see, I nod.

At the same time, I can see Miss Brenda’s trust in Lars-sama…

(I am being helped by such a person)

Thinking this again, I feel reassured.

Chapter 48: I meet my new family

There was a carriage waiting at the entrance of the Academy.

The servant accompanying me in the back of the carriage and the Duke Svald’s servant waiting at the side of the door are both from the Duke Svald household, but Katie, who will officially be working for the Duke Svald family, is there waiting.

“My Lady, I have been waiting for you.”

Katie shows me a shining smile and just seeing it makes me feel like my heart has been washed clean.

(I want to protect this smile)

Even though the gazes from the surroundings haven’t changed from before, Katie is energetic because she now has a solid foundation under her feet.

Not only was Katie able to transfer to the big Duke household, but her salary also apparently increased. With an excess of staff, Katie’s days off and rest time have also increased, and her health has improved and her cheeks have become radiant.

Even if I were to leave Lars-sama’s side, I secretly think that I should ask to keep her from continuing being employed by the Duke Svald household.

“Thank you for coming to meet me, Katie.”

I also smile and take Katie’s hand to get on the carriage.

Calva-sama was sitting inside.

“I’m sorry, but I get drunk(sick) easily, so I have them let me sit on this side.”

Calva-sama told me that he was sitting facing the direction of travel.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m fine either way as long as it’s not a long ride.”

Fortunately, I am not prone to motion sickness. But I thought it would be rude not to consider a woman, so Calva-sama probably said that.

(Oh, I wonder if…)

I suddenly thought here.

Maybe the slightly sullen look he had when we met the other day was due to motion sickness, and he tends to look scary.

I’d like to see Calva-sama not after the carriage ride.

He might be a more approachable person.

“Um, if you don’t mind riding in a carriage at all, would you like to take a break somewhere?”

I thought I should ask if he gets motion sickness, but Assistant High Priest Calva waved his hand and shook his head.

“No, it’s okay. My older brother is a person who is in a good mood when you can act on time. It’s gotten better thanks to his wife, but it’s always better to be on time.”

“…”

My new foster father seems to be strict about time.

I realize that I decided to become a foster child without knowing such information.

(I was just thinking that I want someone, anyone, to rescue me from that house…)

There seem to be many people who are better than that father, and it doesn’t seem to be a big deal to be strict about time.

(He seems to treat his wife and daughter properly, and he accepted my request to take me in as a foster child, he is a kind person with a wide heart)

For that alone, Count Radin is a saint.

He is willing to take in the daughter of the Count Elvasti family, who no one wants to be involved with. Even if the place where she lives is the Duke’s house, and the guardian is a priest who is his younger brother, and they don’t interact much as a family.

In fact, it was me who said that it would be better if we didn’t interact as a family.

(I want to avoid getting involved with the Count Radin family and being the target of strange rumors and insults)

If I lived in a different place, I could make an excuse in case of an emergency. Moreover, if I am staying in the Duke Svald’s house, it is even more difficult to speak ill of me.

I was relieved to have received such consideration from Count Radin, but the Count Radin house I arrived at did not have a front garden like the Duke Svald house.

It was a formal house where you arrived at the entrance gate a few steps after getting off the carriage in front of the gate.

I think there is a small garden behind the building, but a mansion facing the road with an entrance is a normal house for middle-class nobles in the capital.

If you want a somewhat larger site in the crowded capital, you have to have a mansion in the suburbs. My house, the Elvasti Count’s house, is also located in a slightly suburban area. However, it was a mansion with no particularly large garden and vines covering it.

The neighboring mansion seems to be either another Count’s house or a Baron’s house that has been bought.

However, when I stepped inside the mansion, the walls with bright colors and the white-ish furniture were bright in the light of the lighting.

It’s an unimaginable feeling from the exterior of gray stone.

Count Radin and his family came out of the reception room nearby when they were informed of my arrival.

Count Radin is a man with wavy light brown hair, like Calva-sama. He wears glasses, so he seems to have a little bad eyesight. He looks at me with a crumpled expression.

(I wonder if he really didn’t want to adopt me as a foster child…)

I was a little relieved to be surprised by myself.

I should have been thinking about living on my own because I thought there was no one on my side…

But maybe I had come to feel that, in this environment where I could continue to eat sacred flower sweets as I wished, as a foster child in the status of a noble young lady, there might be others on my side too.

But maybe I shouldn’t be in such a spoiled mood.

However, Countess Radin with her copper-colored hair tied up is smiling at me, and the 10-year-old girl who must be her daughter and the small 5-year-old girl are looking at me with interested, sparkling eyes.

(Do they not have a bad impression of me…?)

Children are honest, and their parents are everything in the world to them.

If their parents even slightly dislike me, it wouldn’t be strange for them to reflect that dislike.

As I am filled with (???), Calva-sama says beside me.

“I am grateful to you for fitting in with my schedule today, Brother. She is the person I was talking about.”

Count Radin heard the words to introduce me.

“na-dafu~”

He let out a strange word and held back his mouth.

Chapter 49: Nice to meet you, father and mother-in-law

Count Radin is shaking his shoulders as he is.

Eventually, a tear trickled down from the corner of his eye.

“…Eh?”

What happened? Did I say something that sounded like I was teasing him?

In front of my confusion, the Countess next to me quietly handed me a handkerchief.

“Oh my dear, it looks like you couldn’t hold it in anymore. Since hearing about you from Calva-sama, he has been feeling so sorry and…he’s just not good at hearing sad stories. Now, wipe your tears.”

Count Radin, who was given a handkerchief by the Countess, wiped his tears while sniffling and faced me with a blown nose.

“Ah, so you’re going to be my daughter. Finally, we met. I’m sorry for being late due to Calva being busy…sigh…I apologize.”

Count Radin spoke the line as if he had intended to say it from the beginning, despite his slightly nasal voice.

I have no idea how to respond.

I was about to look stunned and quickly closed my mouth, then tilted my head again.

It seems that the reason for his tears was that he was deeply sorry to hear of my situation. But he tried to be stern with me, as he’d planned.

(I see. He is the type who likes to be punctual and wants to do what he has planned…)

But he may have hidden the fact that he’s easy to cry… or rather, he may have been pretending because he wanted to hide it.

Even so, my situation was so pitiful that he couldn’t help but cry.

(Hmm, but was he really crying that much?)

I didn’t think it would be that bad.

“It is said that she is a lonely daughter who lost her mother at a young age and was raised without any warm words from her father, as if they were not even related. She was engaged to a noble who was after the Elvasti family’s assets, but already had a lover candidate and was in a state where she didn’t receive any gifts, not even a single one with a name… She also said that on her birthday every year, she spends it alone in a lonely and dark room, looking forward to the gift given to her by her maternal uncle.”

Calva-sama told me the explanation, sensing my agitation.

Ah… I feel really sorry for myself.

The content is exactly spot on, but it seems terribly lonely and desolate…

Oh, I’m starting to feel depressed.

Just a little while ago, I was indeed suffering from depression in such a situation.

“I was surprised. This is Kenneth of Count Radin. I am Margrethe. These two will become your sisters.”

The Countess casually opened her mouth and urged her daughters to introduce themselves quickly, accustomed to the tears of Count Radin.

The two children looked at the Countess with the same “Oh my, oh my, father” gaze, but quickly put on serious expressions.

First, the older child made a cute bow.

“I am Loretta.”

“I am Aina. Nice to meet you, Onee-sama.”

The second little girl bowed her head bashfully, it was also cute.

(Little sisters…I’m gonna have little sisters.)

There was a time when I yearned for siblings.

For that, my father would have to remarry, but I gave up on that because it seemed very unlikely.

(Besides, isn’t it a miracle that my father married my mother in the first place?)

Even now, he’s still single, but my father doesn’t seem to be manipulating my mother. I have even suspected him of being a little bit of a womanizer.

I’m kind of glad.

At the same time, it’s unsettling.

I have become their adopted sister. What will I do if these children are bullied?

“First, let’s move to a different place, brother.”

At Calva-sama’s words, I was led to the reception room.

My adopted siblings seemed to have been taken by the newly appeared tutor to another room. They must have been judged to be too young to keep up with adult conversations and too young to sit still and wait.

The reception room that I was led to was a cream-colored one with cute cat pictures all over the walls, unlike the one-glasses-wearing Count.

The furniture was white and pink, and it was just…

(Wait, does Count Radin like cute things?)

Although I was becoming more confused, I couldn’t show it on my face. After all, these were the people who had kindly become my adoptive parents.

(Yes, I’m sure he likes cute things like this, and as a girl, he probably thought, “Well, if it’s a girl…,” and accepted the idea of adopting me. And the Count has a maidenly part in his heart, so maybe that’s why he’s easily moved to tears?)

I was trying to persuade myself with words in my head, but Calva-sama shattered that.

“I think there’s a more settled room, brother.”

“This person said that when Linea-san was welcomed, we should definitely have tea here, Calva-sama. Besides, we decided to adopt her and then renovated this room…”

The Countess is laughing, “hohoho.”

“Why didn’t you stop it, sister?”

“I did stop it, you know? So we settled for plain white walls, but the curtains were made into a lovely pale rose color, and before I knew it, I had ordered rose-colored furniture. My daughters were happy about it, so I let it go. If they get tired of it, we can redecorate again.”

Since the walls are white, you can just return the furniture and curtains.

The Countess smiles like a good wife, and Count Radin himself looked a bit sulky.

“Young girls should be able to speak without tension, so some consideration is necessary.”

It seems that this cute room was the result of Count Radin’s consideration.

I’m sorry, I don’t know what my image is like, so I just decided to put on a smile.

I don’t know how to react…

“I see…”

It seems that Calva-sama had no choice but to be convinced.

And as I sit at the tea table chair I am guided to, I think.

(At any rate, it seems that the impression is not bad.)

As long as that’s not a problem, it’s okay.

Chapter 50: My foster father was a compassionate person

“First of all, Miss Linea, let me introduce myself again.”

Count Radin, who had a sharp expression, looked straight at Linea.

“I am Kenneth Radin. From today, you can call me “father (Otoo-sama)”.”

(Is that what you want me to call you?)

While thanking Count Radin, who seemed to welcome me from the bottom of his heart, I did as he said.

“Yes. Thank you for taking me in as your daughter, father.”

Then Count Radin smiled slightly at the corners of his mouth. It was visible that he was happy.

“I am Margrethe Radin. Although you have just become our foster daughter, you are already an adult, it might be awkward to call me mother (Okaa-sama), so you can call me Margrethe.”

It seems that the Countess is a considerate person. Thank you.

“Yes, Margrethe-sama.”

When I said that, she showed a kind smile.

Then tea was brought.

First, everyone took a sip, and then the Countess started the conversation.

“Linea-san, didn’t you find it strange that we accepted the adoption? At first, I was surprised when I heard that the grown-up noble lady would be taken in as a foster daughter. My husband wasn’t immediately moved to tears and immediately agreed to the story of Calva-sama either.”

The Countess treats me as an adult and seems to tell me everything without hiding anything.

I nod while turning my ear.

No matter how pitiful my circumstances may be, there are many things you can’t do.

Even if my situation is pitiful, no one outside knows whether I obediently followed my father’s will or if I’m actually complicit with him.

It would be cautious to worry about what kind of trouble I might cause if I carelessly entered the family or ended up giving them a hard time. There is no family that will easily accept me.

I would only be accepted without much thought if they were extremely kind or if they had no choice.

On the other hand, if it was a matter of accepting me considering the relationship with Lars-sama… it might be possible.

I had been guessing that the Radin couple decided on the matter of the foster daughter by being able to sell a favor to Lars-sama and by listening to the request of the brother Calva-sama.

“But we were acquaintances with Viscount Vinge.”

“Oji-sama…”

My maternal uncle.

“Because we were about to meet Viscount Vinge, I happened to ask about the House of Elvasti at that time. I also heard the story about how you were given a sacred flower confection by the viscount on your birthday.”

Then Count Radin took over.

“I was surprised to hear that you didn’t even hold a proper birthday party with your own family. I couldn’t believe it was true. Even if a noble doesn’t have affection for a child, I thought that at least for appearances, it was customary for nobles to hold a formal party.”

That’s true.

Even nobles who neglect their parenting duties and leave childcare to wet nurses make sure to maintain appearances and hold social events under the pretext of parties.

Maybe my father didn’t see the need for that…

(Maybe he thought that he would eventually invade this country, so he didn’t see the need for socializing.)

“After that, Viscount Vinge was pleased when I secretly talked about becoming a foster daughter.”

Countess Radin smiled.

“It’s all thanks to Oji-sama. Oji-sama always gives me the power to open up a path for me.”

Even the sacred flower that I acquired the Block Skill would not have been able to be purchased from Lars-sama if Oji-sama had not wished for it.

And if Oji-sama had not talked to the Count and Countess Radin about me, I would not have been able to leave the Elvasti household as a foster daughter.

As I said this with tears welling up, Count Radin closed his mouth and shook.

The Countess smiled and said after seeing me quickly wipe my eyes with my finger.

“It’s good to know there’s someone around to help you. Now we’ll be the ones to help you.”

“Thank you… very much.”

I can’t help but choke up.

And I thought more and more.

Sacred flower confections are something that brings me tremendous luck.

(My life has been unlucky enough as it is… I’m afraid that if the sacred flower sweets become unavailable and I have to go back, it will be scary)

I want to make sure that I can continue to eat sacred flower confections no matter what.

While I was thinking, the conversation between Count Radin and his wife, Calva-sama, was progressing.

First of all, about where I live.

“After all, it is difficult for a daughter of this age to live in a single person’s house…”

Count Radin, who showed a hard expression, was nodded by Calva-sama.

“It is difficult if Count Elvasti is involved. We don’t know what he will do, and in the worst case, what will happen if brother can’t protect the family? Linea will be hurt.”

“Uh…”

Count Radin pressed his chest and hung his head. He seems to have received a big blow.

“You’ve confirmed this before and reluctantly agreed.”

The Countess put her hand to her cheek and nodded her head.

“That’s because I thought she might be a bit tough. I should reconsider if she is such an ordinary young lady after all…”

Count Radin was expecting me to be a little more tough and imposing… It’s not strange to have such an impression, as I am the daughter of the Elvasti family.

But when I listen to his story and think that he took me in as his foster daughter, it seems like his deep feelings are ingrained in me.

(Surely Count Radin would have taken me in as a foster daughter even if I was a mountain girl)

I must not cause trouble for this person as a new family… I felt this once again.

That’s why I have something I want to ask.

“Um, I have something I’d like to ask. Is that okay?”

As I hesitated, the three turned to me at once.

“What is it?”

“It’s about what to do with me after the matter with the Elvasti family is settled…”

Chapter 51: Welcome back

When the problem with Count Elvasti is settled…

Originally, I became a foster child so that I would not be a burden to Lars-sama, and also to thwart Count Elvasti’s plot to overthrow the country.

That’s what I should have explained to Count and Countess Radin.

But after that?

Lars-sama and Calva-sama are said to keep their promises and not abandon me. So if I wish, I could continue to live as a noble lady.

But there is no one with such thick nerves as to propose to the daughter of a person who tried to guide an invasion, no matter how much she became a foster child of another family.

It may be difficult to keep me as a noble lady if I cannot fulfill my role as a noble lady.

Count Radin will probably feel sympathy and allow me to stay in his house.

But what will happen when the next generation comes along?

If my new sisters, those adorable siblings, have to take care of the burden of their adopted older sister forever, it may obstruct their marriage prospects and their future husbands.

That’s what I’m worried about.

The most realistic option is for me to enter the temple.

(That’s why I became a foster child under someone’s care in the first place, even though I didn’t want to…)

So, the second best is to arrange my marriage to a branch of the Count Radin family, while maintaining my position as a noble’s outcast… I can only go off the stage.

In that case, there is no problem with helping Lars-sama develop confections, and the impression is that there are only two sisters in the Count Radin family.

I wanted to know how far Count Radin thinks about such things.

“I think you have heard from Lars-sama and Calva-sama about the reason why I was taken as a foster daughter this time. To make sure that my testimony is not doubted, I am planning to put my position far away from the Count Elvasti family and increase my allies before… I’m sure you’ve heard this from the other side.”

Count Radin nods in explanation for confirmation.

“After the indictment is over safely… Honestly, everyone knows that I am the daughter of rebels, so I am worried that my being in the Count Radin family may affect the marriages of these girls who will become my sisters by marriage.”

Calva-sama said as I explained my thoughts.

“If you have your skills, you should be able to offset some things to a certain extent. It would be better to announce it after the accusation is over.”

Count Radin said, adjusting the position of his monocle with his fingertips.

“Yes. After the accusation is over, if you impress that you exposed your father’s misconduct, and also reveal that you have skills, your impression should improve considerably.”

“But isn’t it difficult to find a marriage partner? And if I announce my skills, it seems to be even more difficult.”

If you don’t have skills, you may be convinced that even if you marry into a lower-ranked family and expose the accusation, you will be unpopular because of the bad rumors.

But if you have skills, it is …difficult to marry into a lower-ranked family.

For some reason, Count Radin and Calva-sama averted their eyes.

Countess Radin laughed with a “huhuhu”.

(…? Did I say something strange?)

“We’ll think about it according to the situation when it changes later. Don’t worry. As my daughter, I’ll be responsible for your future.”

“Thank you very much.”

Linea nodded and bowed.

(I wonder if it means that they haven’t decided what to do yet…)

It may be that it can’t be said unless the situation is settled.

“By the way, you know.”

Countess Radin turns her sparkling eyes towards Linea, who nods in understanding.

“What are your skills like? I was really looking forward to maybe seeing it!”

“You…”

Count Radin looks at his wife with a shocked expression. But the countess continues to insist, holding her hands together tightly.

“I’ve been so looking forward to this day! I’ve seen some magic before, but skills aren’t something you see very often!”

What the countess says is also true.

“Well, just a little bit…”

Although we are meeting for the first time and I don’t particularly think I’m disliked, I want to make a better impression.

That’s what I think as I concentrate.

[The cookie cannot be touched by this fingertip]

“Please watch. The cookie cannot be touched.”

Saying that, I extend my fingertip towards the plate of cookies that were brought along with the tea.

Then.

——Whoa.

As my finger approaches, the cookie escapes.

——Whoa.

I tried to chase after it, but it kept running away and even pushed the cookie I had bumped into.

As I approached with four fingers.

——Zuzuzu.

Many cookies moved towards one side of the plate, even though no one was touching them.

“Amazing, amazing!”

Countess stood up excitedly, while Count Radin narrowed his eyes as he adjusted the position of his monocle.

“This is definitely a skill…”

Calva-sama, who was seeing my skill for the first time, also nodded as if impressed, saying, “Hmph.”

In any case, I was able to finish my first meeting with my foster parents like this.

I was sent back home by Calva-sama as is.

When I arrived at the Duke Svald house, Lars-sama was there to greet me at the entrance.

“Welcome back, Linea.”

As soon as he said that, I strangely felt a weight lifted from my shoulders.

I was definitely nervous about meeting my foster parents for the first time… but could it be that I already consider this place home?

I try not to appear rude and bow.

“I have just returned, Lars-sama.”

“How was it? It must have been quite enjoyable?”

“Yes, they were very kind.”

Lars-sama smiles satisfactorily at my answer.

“Then, shall we have dinner early?”

When I am told this, I realize that it is indeed dinnertime.

I quickly changed out of my outdoor clothes and joined Lars-sama and Asher-sama at the dining table.

Chapter 52: Confections and magician

On that day, sacred flower sweets were served as dessert on the dining table.

I can’t help but widen my eyes at the beautiful sugar sweets that look like the flower itself.

Moreover, the color seems to be reproduced, and the beautiful gradient in which the deep rose color of the flower center becomes white as it approaches the edge is so beautiful that I could sigh.

Although it looks like a fresh flower, it is definitely a hard sugar candy when you bite it.

When I put it in my mouth, I am fascinated by the fleetingness that melts away as if it disappears.

“Did it suit your taste?”

To Lars-sama’s question, I nod repeatedly.

“Yes, very much.”

But I’m still worried.

“But I feel guilty eating sacred flower confections every day like this.”

“It’s okay. Because this is also part of the research, we are receiving cooperation from the magician guild.”

“Cooperation?”

I know sacred flower was purchased from a magician, but…

“We are also lending a hand to their research, so we are being accommodating on this side as well. Sacred flowers are not always exchanged for money. Sometimes they are exchanged for things.”

I see.

But even if you trade, you’re offering quite a bit in exchange for sacred flowers.

Lars-sama said to me, who was imagining various things.

“That’s just right. Want to meet the magician who comes and goes in our house?”

“What?”

“He’s here today. At home.”

There is a magician at home.

I was surprised at those words and my eyes widened.

Magicians, to begin with, are not something that appear in public very often.

While the aristocracy may hire them and there may be magic shows, it is not common to flaunt the magicians themselves. This is because the magicians themselves often reject it.

This is also because magicians who have concluded that it was their pride that led them to lend their hands in wars in the past have self-regulated to not appear in public.

I couldn’t help but be surprised when I was told “he’s here today” as if a magician was casually coming and going.

(By the way, are the magicians freely coming and going in the Duke Svald household?)

From Lars-sama’s tone, I got that impression.

But I want to meet the magician.

“Um, if it’s okay with you, I’d like to talk.”

I requested a meeting with Lars-sama in the hopes that I might be able to hear various stories about skills as well.

Then Lars-sama asked one of the servants who was standing by the wall of the room, “Do you know where the magician is now?”

“Until a little while ago, he was in the confectionery room,” replied the servant, whose name was Marc, if I remember correctly.

Recently, I’ve finally been able to tell the twins Noin and Marc apart. Noin has somewhat cold eyes, while Marc has a more gentle gaze… I think.

“Then, shall we go to the confectionery room after lunch?”

I nodded at Lars-sama’s invitation.

After having some tea after the meal, it was decided that I would go to the confectionery room with Lars-sama.

The confectionery room was apparently located near the kitchen.

I say “apparently” because I didn’t even know of its existence.

Nobles don’t usually go near the kitchen or laundry room. When I was a child, I was interested in everything and was often taken care of by the servants, so it became one of my playgrounds.

As I am staying in someone else’s house, I thought it would be rude to search everywhere and therefore did not approach such places.

That’s why I didn’t know that there was a confectionery room.

Until now, I thought the confections that Lars-sama had made were being made by confectionery craftsmen coming and going in the kitchen.

(But that’s right. There was no way for a servant to be entrusted with the management of the extremely expensive sacred flower)

For that reason, there must be a special room that Lars-sama manages.

Walking while understanding, I was guided to a room a little away from the place where the first floor guest rooms are lined up.

At first glance, the door is not much different from the other guest rooms.

When Lars-sama knocked, a reply of “Hello” came from inside.

“…?”

The voice sounded familiar.

But I immediately can’t think of the other person’s name. It’s not someone close to me or someone I’ve been involved with for a long time.

(But, who?)

Since I can’t remember the face or name, I think it’s just someone I talked to a few times, but…since I don’t have any acquaintances among the magicians, there’s no way that could be the case, so I just tilt my head.

“It’s me. Can I come in?”

“Lars-sama? Please do!”

A rather light tone was returned to Lars-sama.

This magician must be quite close to Lars-sama.

Lars-sama, who was given permission, immediately opened the door.

Who is there ahead? As I stared at the other side of the door with excitement, I eventually met the eyes of a person who was arranging white flowers on a gray marble stand.

“Oh, finally decided to invite her here.”

The magician with silver hair smiled and said.

“It’s just that the time didn’t match. Recently you usually come to work at night or in the middle of the night… Kvasir.”

There was no doubt that the person who was told by Lars-sama was Kvasir, the male student I had just met at the Academy.

Chapter 53: The cause of the deja vu feeling is…

The silver hair cut shoulder-length.

Honestly, he is slightly smaller than Lars-sama and has a noble atmosphere that makes you want to say “Are you kidding?” even if he is called a magician.

I have heard of magicians who mainly act independently and move to the mountains to search for sacred flowers, so I cannot imagine him walking on mountain roads. Actually, among the magicians I have seen, there are more physically fit or sunburnt people.

(Well, maybe he rides a horse? But even traveling by horse…)

He seems to get tired and collapse soon.

Yes, rather than being called a magician, it is more convincing to be called a confectionery craftsman.

Kvasir-sama, who seems delicate, seems to have immediately read from my expression that I was surprised.

“Ah, were you surprised? Yeah, yeah. Even Lars-sama told me that he couldn’t believe that I, who looks so cute and weak, was a magician.”

Kvasir-sama continues with a smile.

“Don’t you think that most magicians are physically strong? Everyone is a weakling at first, right? But I guess they get stronger muscles from walking around in the mountains all day in order to survive. I’m no good at all.”

Even while staying silent, he continues to speak.

Lars-sama tries to add in some clarification in between.

“He seems to have been of a sickly nature since he was young, so he isn’t suited for the kind of exploratory activities that magicians usually do.”

“So I always stayed in a tent or base, making confections and sleeping.”

Kvasir-sama immediately picks up where Lars-sama left off and smiles.

“It seems like you were impressed by the confections I made. I’m really happy. It’s nice to know that my efforts paid off. So what about today? Did you want to see me making confections?”

I was overwhelmed by Kvasir-sama’s rapid way of speaking, so I finally decided to ask.

“Umm… well…”

“Is something wrong?”

“Do you always talk like that, in such a casual manner? And are you really an aristocrat’s son, or is that just a disguise?”

At the Academy, the subject was also “I,” and he spoke in a proper and noble way. Is that his outward appearance?

Then how did the magician become a student at the Academy? Normally, people who have magical talent and choose to be noble do not belong to the magician guild…

From what he said, he should belong to the guild. If he has been a member since he was young, I think he is not of noble birth.

“Oh, you were worried about that too?”

Kvasir-sama nods.

“As you imagined, Linea-sama, I am not of noble birth. However, the current head of the magician guild is a member of the royal family, and I am the adoptive child of that guild head.”

Kvasir-sama smiled, as if to say, “You understand now, right?”

(I see. He has royal family connections. And if the guild head is of royal birth, he may have a noble title in name. As his child… he may be attending the Academy.)

And because he said he was weak, he may be going to the Academy as a noble’s child, which may be more suitable for him than working as a magician.

After all, the magician guild is also a group with deep ties to the nobility.

The sacred flowers and magic they use as a source of income are too expensive for commoners to buy.

(Still, the royal family…)

I feel something catch.

While I was thinking about why, Kvasir-sama kept talking.

“I’m sure you have questions about this too, but originally, magicians made confections as part of their research. Don’t the priests in the temples also make confections? It’s something like that, I think.”

He smiled and held out the white flowers lined up on the workbench to me.

“Since you came all the way here, let me give you one of these confections.”

“Thank you very much.”

I received it and stared at the beautiful flower intently.

Eight thin, fresh, white petals were curved like a dish and overlapped like a half-open white rose.

“It’s amazing. It’s like a flower itself.”

“Yeah, try eating it.”

At Kvasir’s recommendation, I put a small flower in my mouth.

…Hmm?

The texture is somehow, not quite like a candy… it’s refreshing and sweet like a flower.

“You might find it enjoyable to try non-sacred flower confections as well.”

“Non-sacred flower confections?! Wait, Linea, that’s…!”

At Kvasir’s words, Lars-sama widens his eyes and runs towards me.

But before that, I am suddenly overcome with a strong drowsiness and kneel down with my hands on the ground.

“Sleepy…”

If I close my eyes, I’ll fall asleep in a second.

But there’s no way I can sleep here…

As I grit my teeth, I feel like I can hear Kvasir-sama’s voice from far away.

“She’s truly a person who is heavily affected.”

The tone, full of concern, again stimulates a sense of déjà vu in me.

“That’s what I said, Linea. Are you okay?”

Lars-sama supports me by holding onto my shoulders.

At that relieved moment, I finally remembered.

(Oh, this experiment lab rat-like tone… I saw it in a dream…)

Chapter 54: What I remembered was

My father, who was supposed to have led the invasion, walking proudly through the palace… and me being chained as a prisoner in a dream.

I was shown this by a blue-eyed young man with sandy hair and was despairing over why I was in such a state.

At that time, the blue-eyed young man called out to the person with silver hair down to his shoulders.

In the dream, he was slightly taller, but I can definitely say now that I remember clearly.

That was Kvasir——

As I remember, my consciousness becomes clearer.

Thanks to you, I was able to stand up by myself without any help from Lars-sama.

“Um, sorry…”

Kvasir-sama probably didn’t think the effect would be this obvious. And he seemed to have realized that he had caused trouble by sitting here.

He apologized with a sullen expression.

“I’ve heard it affects you, but I thought it was just enough to make your eyes bright because this sacred flower is called “Morning Dew”. To be in danger of collapsing…”

It seemed unexpected for Kvasir as well.

Indeed, all the sacred flowers I have eaten so far had the effects of their named elements. Getting cold or hot, for example.

(No, I think I definitely woke up or had a feeling of morning dew)

So … I think I remembered the details of the forgotten dream.

(It’s good to remember. But I’m not sure if it’s okay to talk about it)

I thought about the content and decided to stay quiet. I will consult Lars-sama after considering it carefully.

Lars-sama looked very depressed and was hanging his head.

“I’m sorry, Linea. Kvasir is not a bad person, but he tends to do things that are a little unusual, or he is easily swayed when it comes to research on sacred flowers.”

Hearing this, I think I have heard something like this before …

Wasn’t Lars-sama himself told something like that? That he was pouring an extraordinary passion into sacred flower sweets and had an eye on new sacred flowers.

(The saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together”)

Thinking about it this way, both Kvasir-sama and Lars-sama must be people with an incredible passion for research in one thing.

But Lars-sama is more calm because he never refuses an invitation when he hears about new confections and is investing his own money to get the sacred flower and study it.

Besides, I wasn’t angry with what Kvasir-sama did.

To be honest, even I didn’t know what would happen if I ate the sacred flower itself, and I was a little…interested in what would happen if I ate the sacred flower.

I didn’t think it would be so fussy.

“Please don’t worry about it. I should have known the moment I held it in my hand that it wasn’t a snack, but I was too busy being a fool to notice. Besides, I’m fine now.”

I tried to show him that I was fine by waving my hand, but Lars-sama suddenly held my hand.

I felt like my heart skipped a beat at the warmth of his hand.

“Really? There is no effect at all?”

“Y-Yes.”

I just remembered something I had forgotten. So there is no bad effect at all.

“That’s good…but if anything happens, be sure to tell me, okay?”

“I promise, Lars-sama.”

When I answered that, Lars-sama finally let go of my hand as if he was satisfied.

Kvasir-sama, who was watching, whispered “Hmm.”

“What’s up, Kvasir?”

Lars-sama tilted his head.

“Oh, nothing. Anyway, I want to apologize next time. If there is something you want me to do, please tell me anything, Linea-sama. Even if it’s a request as a magician, I’ll accept it if it’s you.”

“Thank you very much.”

I was inwardly delighted.

It’s not often that you can ask a magician to work for you.

(Maybe I can ask him to look for the magic that the Maiden of Salvation used)

I decided to think about how to ask him before making a request.

(I have some feelings about him…)

I said thank you with a smile and decided to retreat to my room for now.

“My Lady, would you like some tea or something?”

“It’s okay, I have water too. I’ll just read a book for a while, so you can rest too, Katie.”

Katie nodded to my words and left the room.

I took a deep breath and collapsed on the bed in a messy way.

“That’s right, that person is the type who loves experiments… In a way, he’s similar to Lars-sama.”

I seemed to have seen the continuation of the dream at some point.

What revived was that memory.

After the young man with red eyes called out to me, Kvasir-sama made me participate in a magic experiment.

The result was not a terrible experiment, but I did catch a cold from getting too cold.

At that time, Kvasir-sama tried to give me medicine because it was the result of his magic, but at that time I was a prisoner.

As a result of the cruel intention of the young man with red eyes who wanted to hurt me, I was left without medicine. That was the dream I saw.

Thanks to this, my impression of Kvasir-sama is also bad.

Or rather, if Kvasir-sama has the same personality as in that dream, he is the type who doesn’t think deeply about my situation because he is too happy to be able to experiment.

From the incident with the sacred flower earlier, I think my prediction about his personality is probably correct.

“It’s more troublesome to deal with someone who doesn’t have bad intentions… right? But I want the magician’s secrets.”

In addition, he will also be one of the secrets related to the royal family.

If Kvasir-sama himself is a foster child of the royal family and the magician guild itself is run by the royal family, if they have a good impression of me, my position will be slightly advantageous.

Lars-sama must have brought Kvasir-sama and me together considering this.

“Yes, the royal family don’t like me either. In order to avoid criticism from the royal family, I need allies other than Lars-sama.”

I have never met him. But I remembered.

That person with red eyes is… the prince of this country.

Chapter 55: Speculation and premonition of turmoil in Academy life

“I had hardly seen the prince, so I forgot about him.”

Maybe it’s because I’ve started living at the Duke Svald house and my feelings have settled down.

There are times when I realize things I didn’t notice before.

It’s the same with the prince.

As I was looking at Lars-sama with strong red eyes, I suddenly remembered a dream.

Now that I think about it, I saw a man with red eyes…and

As a result, I found out that this color is common among the royal family, and realized that he might be the prince.

Although it’s too vague, to be honest, I didn’t care about anything in the world, so it’s no wonder that it didn’t stay in my memory.

“Now that I think about it, in the future, I was captured and imprisoned in the royal palace. And of course the prince is involved in saving the Maiden of Salvation.”

You can’t have people with special magic on the loose.

Then, Michelia can’t marry Albert?

“The royal family might want to keep it within their own. If Albert and pure love (?) were to continue, wouldn’t Albert himself be assassinated by the royal family?

In that case… I remember Count Herkuvis, Albert’s father, whom I met before running away to Lars-sama’s house.

That Count might try to curry favor with the royal family by pulling out first.

I don’t know Albert’s feelings, but if he were forced to do so by his father, wouldn’t he nod, just like when he decided to engage with me?

“And he might make the decision to give up on Michelia and establish a connection with the future queen… That’s a possibility.”

It’s a future that has been fully considered.

If Michelia is definitely going to be the Maiden of Salvation of the country.

“But I don’t need to, and I don’t have the intention to, throw her away somewhere in a forest. Otherwise, Michelia wouldn’t have met the magician and wouldn’t have known about her magical talent?”

Of course, she won’t become the Maiden of Salvation of the country.

I also have no intention of telling someone who seems to have ill will towards me that I have talent. They seem scary and likely to harm me first.

“In that case, since the engagement has been broken off, it would be impossible for Albert to marry Michelia…”

“Unless Albert renounces his noble status or Michelia returns to her noble status without becoming the Maiden of Salvation of the country, his father will not recognize it and Albert will likely hesitate.

As long as Albert follows his father, Michelia will only be able to hold the status of a mistress.

I wonder if she herself knows this…

“She knows, since she was originally a noble lady.”

I hope she doesn’t not know. I lose confidence because Michelia is openly harassing me.

Even if she bullies the wife (me), her status will not change.

“The problem is only my father, Count Elvasti.”

If that person is captured and his actions stopped, there is no need for a Maiden of Salvation.

Lars-sama is currently watching over him, but Count Elvasti seems to be completely inactive. I heard that the general from the neighboring country who visited recently has not appeared either.

Lars-sama might be wary of something, so he might want to be careful not to be noticed.

Or, perhaps it is already after all the crucial exchanges have been completed…

“If we follow the story as it goes, it might be a good time for something to happen in the neighboring country. It makes sense that the arrangements might be made after.”

In that case, in order to finally accuse Count Elvasti, I have no choice but to obtain some evidence.

“I have to wait for Lars-sama and Asher-sama’s investigation.”

Currently, what I need to do is to increase my allies so that I am not put on wet clothes after I accuse him.

Therefore, I also go to the Academy the next day.

Since it is already known that I have a friendship with Lars-sama, I rode in the same carriage as Lars-sama.

However, is it okay to take such a dignified way to show that there is some relationship between Lars-sama and me? I was a little worried, so I asked Lars-sama.

“Yes, I thought it was a concern, but there is one problem, so I think it is better to be dignified together.”

“Problem… oh.”

When told, I remember.

Currently, I, who should be the daughter of the Count Radin family, may be attacked by my real father, Count Elvasti, or the father of my former fiancé, Count Herkuvis, out of resentment, so I also seek shelter with Lars-sama to protect myself.

I stay at the house of a partner who is not even my fiance.

Even if my foster parents approve, it is no different from a slightly strange thing.

Of course, the noble daughters who learned of this later seem to use it as a material to attack me again.

Lars-sama then decided that it would be better to indicate that it was also Lars-sama’s intention to be with me first.

Rather, he lets his friends ask and makes the situation known to the surroundings so that it can be heard.

“You might be thought to have a dark background if you try to hide it too much. On the contrary, It’s better to be open and honest. I think we’re here.

The carriage stopped in front of the entrance to the Academy.

The door opened and Asher-sama got off first.

Then Lars-sama.

I got off with my hand extended to Lars-sama.

(…No matter how I explain it, I feel like I will be envied)

I felt the cold gaze of the young ladies who were just at the entrance piercing me.

Chapter 56: It seems that the cause of jealousy has increased

(Originally, because he was popular…)

For a young lady who attends the Academy, age is a good match.

Already a Duke, she will surely become a Duchess if he marries her.

There are no annoying in-laws either.

And the person’s appearance is also very good.

Even if the young lady with a fiance now has the feelings of Lars-sama directed at herself, the parents will happily change the fiance.

Such a Lars-sama came with me in the same carriage. It wouldn’t have been strange if I was given a somewhat cold look.

At the same time, I was feeling the urge to nod to Lars-sama’s judgment again.

(If they had known that I was living in the same mansion from someone’s information, it might have been worse)

I probably didn’t think that far because I was too focused on running away from the Elvasti family.

(I have to think a little more from now on)

Nodding in my heart, I parted with Lars-sama and headed to the place where I would receive my own lesson.

“Good morning, Linea-sama.”

“Good morning, Miss Brenda.”

I met with Miss Brenda in the hall where the religion class was held today.

“Is it okay if my friends join us at the table today, Linea-sama?”

Miss Brenda was with two friends who she had been friendly with all this time.

I’m sure Miss Brenda thought it was okay to have a conversation with me based on the way we talked yesterday.

She probably thought I wasn’t such a dangerous person…

I’m sure her friends also judged that it was okay based on how Miss Brenda and I looked.

I was a little depressed because I was always looking at things in a negative way, but it’s already a habit so there’s nothing I can do about it.

To not ignore Miss Brenda’s consideration, I smiled and switched my feelings.

“Thank you for having me today.”

When I greet them myself, Miss Brenda’s friends also introduce themselves and start talking to me.

At first it’s about things that have nothing to do with us, like the weather and class.

But even so, I feel comforted as I listen.

For me, who couldn’t even have a small conversation, being able to have a normal conversation and feeling like I have someone on my side is a great situation.

But I can still feel their gaze.

The piercing gaze that always feels like a stab… is definitely Duke Augren’s daughter, Elena.

(Even though the engagement with Albert should have been cancelled)

I wonder why she still has hostility towards me.

Thinking about it, I finish my lesson.

The next lesson is music.

Today I will play the assigned song that was given a month ago.

Everyone brings their violin for this purpose,

But when I try to take it out of the case, a small voice goes up behind me with a “kya!”

“Eh?”

As I look back, there is a noble lady sticking to my back.

I realized (oh…) from the way she is staring at me while looking around at her feet and surroundings while being confused.

(She probably tried to bump into me)

“I, it’s me!”

Unexpectedly, the words she had planned did not come out, it was just a two-second hesitation.

“Eltina-sama, are you too sick to stagger?”

“You don’t look well either.”

When Miss Brenda’s friends, who had been watching the situation, said worriedly, Miss Eltina struggled for words.

I think she probably planned to bump into me pretending to be sick and drop my violin.

But there was a problem.

It was because I was using my Block Skill to keep Duke Augren’s daughter and her entourage away from me.

Thanks to that, Miss Eltina, who was pretending to faint, was bounced off the wall created by my skill and fell a short distance away from me.

Now, she has just suddenly fallen near me.

In this state, and if it is witnessed that she has not firmly collided with the two of us, there is nothing she can do.

Miss Eltina left the place with a red face and said, “Excuse me!”

“Well, that’s strange…”

Miss Brenda whispered as if she was about to laugh.

From her expression, I guessed that she probably heard about the skill from Lars-sama.

“Even so, I thought that if there were multiple people blocking it, there would be no contact…”

Miss Brenda seemed to be puzzled only by that.

“I also… knew that Elena-sama was worried about Count Herkuvis’s son, but I am no longer engaged.”

Why is she still directing hostility towards me?

“Is it just that she doesn’t like you?”

Sometimes. I’ve also been told by a stranger woman I met for the first time, “I don’t like you somehow.” I think that they are not rational and just divide their likes and dislikes based on their own senses.

Normally, if you don’t know the other person well and haven’t done anything, you would just classify them as “someone to avoid” and distance yourself from them, and it’s unlikely that you would attack them out of nowhere or just forget about them.

Duke Augren’s daughter might be of that kind.

“Hmm. From what I know, it doesn’t seem like that, but I still think it’s a grudge.”

I tilt my head even more at Miss Brenda’s evaluation.

I wonder what happened. Could it be that she had feelings for Lars-sama?

If that’s the case, then I can understand why she would hold a grudge against me.

Chapter 57: Is this letter genuine?

Even so, I don’t feel as dark as before because I have allies.

I think it’s because I might have gotten a disease that makes people hate me.

After all, if I can just get through this, I can quietly live in some remote place or live a life unrelated to Duke Augren’s daughter, Elena, as a commoner.

“It’s just that I only have to get through this.”

I seem to have muttered to myself.

“Is something wrong?”

She heard that I said something, so Miss Brenda asks.

“Oh, no, it’s nothing. I just said something to myself.”

“That happens to everyone.”

One of Miss Brenda’s friends, a person with a soft atmosphere, nodded. It’s nice to be able to talk to them without feeling too guarded.

“You must not let your guard down, Linea-sama. You never know what might be taken from you.”

The other one is a bit of a worrier. I used to think she was a little strict, but now I understand that it’s because she is a little squinty-eyed and worries too much.

“That’s really true. I’ve been blamed for that before.”

I nod. Because Duke Augren’s daughter always tries to take all of my words negatively, I have to be careful not to slip my mouth carelessly when I’m nearby.

Then Miss Brenda pressed her finger to her jaw and narrowed her eyebrows.

“Even I don’t understand why she is so obsessed with Linea-sama…it’s natural to look down on Count’s daughter.”

She said this because there was no one around us except us.

Even though we were walking to the entrance, we were walking in a place where there were fewer people. Probably after bringing my friends and me together, we were planning to have a conversation that we didn’t want to be heard by others.

“…is there any personal grudge?”

“There is no contact in the first place. My real father never took me to parties, so I haven’t seen much of the other side. Because of that, I haven’t had many opportunities to get to know people of the same age.”

When I cocked my head, the soft-hearted miss folded her arms.

“Uh-uh. It really is a mystery.”

“Is there a grudge against the previous house?”

The anxious miss said that, but quickly shook her head.

“No, but she’s acting like she has too much of a grudge against Linea-sama herself…”

At that, the anxious lady opened her eyes wide.

“For example, Linea-sama always excels at violin playing, even though Duke Augren’s daughter boasted about having hired a famous performer as a teacher.”

“Is that what it is?”

Miss Brenda shrugged her head, but couldn’t think of anything else.

“It seems difficult to do anything about a grudge in reverse…”

We could only sigh together.

It was then that we approached the entrance.

“Um.”

The woman who quietly approached was the Academy’s servant.

She was an older woman, who seemed somewhat tired of living, compared to me.

“I have received this for you, Count Radin’s daughter.”

I take the white envelope that was handed to me.

When I turn it over, I see Lars-sama’s name written in a rushed, handwriting-like style.

“Lars-sama …?”

When I look inside, it says he wants to meet at the Academy’s lotus pond. It seems like there is something to talk about there.

I would rather talk to him when we meet face to face at the Duke’s house later…

I tilt my head at the clearly unusual content.

“What’s the matter?”

Miss Brenda asked, so I showed her the letter. She should have seen Lars-sama’s writing many times, so I thought she could judge if it was really from him.

“It does look a bit like Lars-sama’s writing … but it’s strange to write in a hurry within the Academy.”

Then she laughed and said, “Shall we go together, Linea-sama? And who knows, we might find something while we’re at it.”

At that time, Miss Brenda showed a wicked smile.

Without any reason to decline, I decided to go to the place specified in the letter with Miss Brenda. The two Miss Brenda’s friends are sent home just in case.

If the person who made this letter was someone of high status… it would be a bit of a hassle.

(If it were me or Miss Brenda, there is a way to immediately ask Lars-sama, but they don’t have direct interaction with Lars-sama)

For their own safety, there’s no other choice but to do it this way.

And so I came to the Academy’s lotus pond.

It was a corner of the Academy’s garden that looked out at the building.

But the pond was surrounded by tall trees and felt a little cut off from the surroundings.

It’s not easy to see who is there until you get closer.

“Ah… it looks like the first guess was correct,” Miss Brenda mutters.

What we saw was the young lady with platinum hair and her usual entourage.

Elena, Duke Augren’s daughter and her group.

Chapter 58: The purpose of Miss Elena

“Oh, but that is…”

Miss Brenda stopped because with her was Lars-sama’s squire Noin.

It seems they are talking, but I feel like I can see the characters “troublesome” on Noin’s face.

“Why is Lars-sama’s servant…involved with Elena-sama?”

Miss Brenda nods at my murmur.

“It doesn’t seem strange to think that way. Maybe he came for some business…but as a servant, it would be difficult for him to refuse the Duke’s daughter’s request, don’t you think? What shall we do?”

Miss Brenda asks me for confirmation on our next action.

If only Miss Elena and her companions were waiting, we would stand up to them as is. However, if Lars-sama’s servant is involved, it becomes a bit difficult.

“Could you inform Lars-sama?”

I was called, so as long as I go, Miss Elena will be satisfied. It seemed to me that the best thing to do was to stall the conversation while waiting for Lars-sama to come.

As for Noin, the servant, I don’t have any authority over him. That’s why there is a possibility that I can’t escape him smoothly.

“I understand.”

Miss Brenda guessed my intention and went to call Lars-sama right away.

And I decided to talk to Miss Elena for a while, and then hide. After all, if I have time to kill, it is best not to [start talking] with her.

As expected,

“Not yet?! That nasty woman!”

Miss Elena seems very angry.

“Did you call properly?!”

“I gave instructions to deliver it to the servant without fail, Elena-sama.”

The noble daughter who always waits for the Duke’s daughter to give her a treat with her is answering with a scared look.

Hm … so Miss Elena ordered to deliver the letter after all.

“Did she suspect that it was a fake letter due to the difference in the writing?”

“That’s … ”

The noble daughter is teary-eyed. It seems that she copied Lars-sama’s writing.

The other noble daughters are also exchanging anxious glances. There are also people with a slightly accusing look at Miss Elena, and even if they follow her orders for the sake of the house or to benefit themselves, Miss Elena’s orders may often be unreasonable.

Still, I’m not sure if it’s okay to feel sympathetic since I’m tricking someone (mainly me) for profit and causing inconvenience to others (like me).

In the meantime, Lars-sama’s servant has a cold expression.

Is it not the first time being tangled up with someone like this, I wonder?

Miss Elena approaches Noin and says,

“I don’t like the idea of putting that outrageous woman by Lars-sama’s side. And I heard that you’re letting her live in the same mansion?”

(Oh, she already found out)

As expected of the Duke’s daughter, she has sharp ears. No, if it was her entourage who heard about it, it might be the victory of having a large entourage.

“Don’t you think that the Count Elvasti family, with that woman and her father’s viciousness, is a house with a terrible reputation that even a noble’s servant has heard of? They should be driven out, right now. Don’t you agree?”

I think this way of speaking is normal as always, but what does Miss Elena want by asking Lars-sama’s servant for agreement?

As I was tilting my head, the continuation entered my ears and I understood Miss Elena’s goal.

“Quietly advise Lars-sama from you. If you do that, I’m sure Lars-sama will change his mind and be grateful to you. I’m sure your treatment will also improve.”

It seems that she was trying to get Lars-sama to speak ill of me.

Ultimately, she wants to make Noin her ally and use him as a weapon against me, I wonder.

However, Noin remained silent.

“Why don’t you say something?”

Miss Elena was annoyed by his attitude, but she quickly softened her expression.

“Yes, it’s scary to go against the main family, isn’t it? But it’s okay. If anything happens and you get reprimanded, you can come to my house. I’ll prepare better treatment for you.”

As she made the invitation, Miss Elena reached out her hand to Noin. Noin, still looking troubled, avoided her hand.

“I’m sorry. I’ve been trained not to touch a lady without a reason.”

“Not to touch?! What do you mean?!”

Miss Elena raised her eyebrows.

Miss Elena always showed sympathy and made subtle advances to servants she liked in order to get them to work in her house. And she must have been confident in this method.

But it didn’t seem to work on Noin. He smoothly refused.

“I’m sorry, but I was taught not to touch people without a reason, so please forgive me.”

“Your salary is going up?! Don’t you think about that?!”

Miss Elena seemed to be meeting such a person for the first time. She had an unbelievable expression, but she opened her eyes wide at Noin’s words.

“Lars-sama is the supreme master. I don’t know anyone more superior than him, so I don’t think I’m thinking of accepting another master.”

At first glance, it seems like the words of a loyal servant who is infatuated with Lars-sama. In fact, among Miss Elena’s friends, there were some who were astonished.

But Miss Elena seems to have understood the true meaning.

“I’m not as good as… I’m not as good as Lars-sama? Me, who is named as a candidate for the prince’s engagement!”

Since she had never been told this, Miss Elena waved her hand in frustration.

Noin tilted his head slightly as if to say “Well, I’ll offer one cheek since there’s no choice.”

This is no good.

I panicked and took a few steps towards Miss Elena.

“Well, this is Elena-sama, how are you? I heard that Lars-sama is here, do you know?”

I said that and looked at Miss Elena, who had lowered her hand in panic.

Chapter 59: Let’s get away from Miss Elena somehow

“O-Oh my, Linea-sama. How are you?”

Miss Elena seemed to be agitated because I suddenly appeared.

She gave an innocent reply in a flustered manner.

To be honest, this was probably the most ordinary reply I have ever had in a conversation with her. If she had known that I was coming from a distance, I think she would have used different words, but she was not prepared in her heart.

“By the way, isn’t he Lars-sama’s servant?”

I point it out first.

“Ah, um, yes, that’s right.”

Miss Elena was flustered for a moment when she was hit, but she quickly regained her mean self.

“Linea-sama, I heard that Lars-sama was here, did you make an appointment with his servant instead?”

She laughs “ufufu,” but I just feel (Oh, I see).

Thinking that I was puzzled by this, Miss Elena attacks me.

“Not only do you try to deceive Lars-sama, but you also try to touch his servant. How greedy are you? Despite abandoning the name of Elvasti, you seem to be no different from your father.”

I get a little tense when I hear that I am said to be a greedy person like my father.

But when I see Noin’s completely cold expression and Miss Elena’s annoying gaze, I become a little calm.

“Or was your true love a servant? It’s easier for no one to notice in a place where no one can see you, like in the school. You never know which noble’s servant or nobleman will see you here, and it will be the same even if you have a secret meeting in a mansion.”

Miss Elena laughed and continued, “And then will you elope? It takes a lot of courage to become a commoner.”

When I heard that, I thought (Oh no, I don’t want that) and suddenly said, “Does Elena-sama have a desire to lead the person she loves astray?”

“…What?”

Miss Elena doesn’t understand and blinks her eyes.

Oh, Noin also has a worried expression?

“I am a foster child by the kindness of Count Radin. Even if I were not, if a noble lady leaves the house on her own, she will be in a state of poverty equal to that of the poor without personal assets.”

It is impossible to live alone if you do not even know how to live or work like a commoner.

“If he were to run away with me, Noin would also lose his job. Even if we had savings, we don’t know what problems might arise later, and since I left a noble’s house, I can’t work in the same job… It’s inevitable that we’ll be at a loss together, right?”

I think that would naturally be the case.

“I don’t have the hobby of dragging my loved ones into such a thorny path.”

“E…ah…”

Miss Elena has lost her words.

The ladies behind her also round their eyes and open their mouths wide. Is it because of bad manners?

Noin is trying to hold back laughter, and his mouth is trembling. I wonder if I said something that funny?

“W-Well, such a thing as eloping, metaphorically speaking, you wouldn’t have the courage to do that, would you?”

Miss Elena was the first to rebuild. She’s unexpectedly stubborn.

“Are you thinking of serving yourself?”

Even though she says that, isn’t Miss Elena happy to have a good-looking man serve as her attendant? Ordinary daughters of a household wouldn’t think of placing a man as a side servant.

In case of any mistakes, they would likely be scolded with a stern expression by their parents.

There is also the possibility that the engagement will be a problem. If it is a political marriage, the father of the child will have a problem if he is not himself.

In the first place, there is a problem.

“Noin has sworn loyalty to Lars-sama. I am not Noin’s employer, so I can’t order to do such a thing.”

Noin should be annoyed if he is given such an order, as he is just being polite as a customer.

Miss Elena, who was frustrated by my answer, was confronted by someone who delivered the final blow.

“There you are, Count Radin’s daughter. Duke Svald is waiting for you.”

The person in the black knight’s uniform and mantle with black hair and tall stature was Asher-sama, knight of Lars-sama.

It seems he came with Miss Brenda.

Asher-sama, who speaks so foreign, feels strange after a long time.

Miss Brenda seems to have found Asher-sama before Lars-sama. She must have decided to bring him here because of the urgency.

I smile at Miss Brenda with gratitude.

Miss Brenda also nodded slightly.

But at that moment, Miss Elena brightened up as if she had thought of something good.

“Well, the knight at Lars-sama’s place.”

Miss Elena smiled at Asher-sama.

“That’s just right. I was thinking of visiting Lars-sama. Could you guide me?”

Miss Elena cheerfully asked.

(What does she want to do? Does she just want to show that she is prioritized over me?)

It is incomprehensible to fight back so much.

However, Asher-sama completely ignored everything beautifully.

“Come on, hurry up.”

As if he hadn’t heard anything, he hurries me.

No way. Is he getting back at Miss Elena because she ignored his words?

When I look at him with a doubtful gaze, Asher-sama looks expressionless as if to say “I don’t understand.”

(Maybe he just thinks this is a nuisance…)

It seems like he is thinking that it is just a waste of time to deal with her.

And Miss Elena’s face gradually becomes scary.

“What… do you think you can defy the orders of the Duke family, who are of royal blood, just because you are a knight?”

Miss Elena, with a low voice, glared at Asher-sama.

“Order. Are you saying you can ignore the orders of the house you serve?”

“This is the command of the same Duke family, and also the current head, isn’t it?”

Asher-sama, who turned around, is indifferent. He looks back at Miss Elena with cold eyes.

“The only person from the Duke family here right now is me!”

“But it was the royal family I served who ordered me to stay with His Lordship Duke Svald.”

As if frustrated by Asher-sama’s uncompromising words, Miss Elena’s face turns red and black. And she said as if spitting out.

“Altargen? Forsian? Either way, you are a person from a destroyed country. How did you get into the royal family, I wonder?”

It must have been a bitter word for Miss Elena. I think she must have realized that she couldn’t resist Asher-sama, who said it was a royal order, even though she said it.

(Asher-sama, were you from another country?)

I don’t really know much about him, including his background. I just trusted him because Lars-sama trusts him and he’s someone I’ve known for quite some time. He’s the one who extended a hand to me.

The only thing that concerns me a little is that he is from another country.

No, that’s not a bad thing.

(It’s also because I learned about my father’s future, who tried to invade the country through a neighboring country and slyly escaped his crimes by becoming a person from another country. It’s not Asher-sama’s fault.)

While thinking calmly like that, my heart may have wavered a little due to my weakness.

“You’ll have the royal family talk about that.”

Asher-sama dismissed it without hesitation.

It’s something the royal family decided, so you should just talk to the royal family about it. If you’re boasting about being the daughter of the Duke family, who is close to the royal family, you should be able to do that. I feel like there’s an implied meaning in his words.

Asher-sama only speaks in short phrases.

On the other hand, Miss Elena had a faint smile on her lips for some reason.

I felt a dangerous feeling and instinctively thought I had to say something to Miss Elena, but then I realized.

I… never used to act like this before.

In the first place, I never thought that Miss Elena would understand. Rather, I had given up thinking that speaking to her made sense, as if she were a person from another country speaking a different language.

(I somehow became more positive)

After realizing this, I decided not to say anything to Miss Elena.

Even if I told her something, she probably wouldn’t want to understand. Like before, there are times when she doesn’t think of me as a living being that understands her own words.

I shouldn’t make Asher-sama angry by making Miss Elena even more angry and causing him trouble.

“Then I’ll excuse myself.”

Taking advantage of the fact that Miss Elena didn’t say anything, I signaled to Noin and quickly left with Asher-sama.

It was a little creepier that Miss Elena hadn’t said anything.

Chapter 60: In the carriage

After thanking Miss Brenda who was a little distance away, I got into the carriage with Asher-sama.

We also urged Noin to get in because we wanted to hear the circumstances, so we rode facing each other as three today.

“Asher-sama, I apologize for causing you trouble.”

First, I thanked Asher-sama who came to rescue me.

“No, I was asked by Lars to protect you. Don’t worry about it.”

He replied bluntly, and I couldn’t help but smile.

I think this way of speaking may be his way of hiding his embarrassment. I feel a little bit of empathy for things he can’t say honestly because he is awkward.

“Noin, why were you there? Were you involved in my case?”

Next, we ask Noin about the circumstances.

“I was in the palace as ordered by Duke, but it seems that they were trying to use me to lure Linea-sama.”

It was completely my fault. I felt sorry, but

“Couldn’t you avoid it somehow, Noin?”

Asher-sama says such a thing to Noin.

“That’s impossible, Asher-sama. It’s impossible to avoid someone of higher status.”

If I’m found out and called out, that’s it. But it was Noin who was stopped.

“No, it’s my carelessness. I carelessly got caught after managing to avoid just one person. Besides…”

Noin gave a fleeting smile.

“Even if I pretend not to hear and ignore it, there’s no way Miss Elena can do anything to Duke himself.

“That’s right…

Miss Elena cannot even approach Lars-sama.

He is a Duke and has a right to succession to the throne. Even if he is a Duke of equal standing, Miss Elena is just a daughter.

She can only personally harass him, and if she did something like that to Lars-sama, she would become an enemy to everyone.

(Lars-sama has many connections through sacred flower confections, both in the nobility and the temple)

It’s not just a title that he’s called the confectionary Duke. He’s definitely a strange person, but many people buy special sacred flower confections from Lars-sama, just like my uncle does.

Especially the nobility, they desperately want expensive things for their status.

“I’m sure the Duke, Miss Elena’s father, has also been helped by Lars-sama at some point.

“That’s why it’s my fault, so don’t worry about it.”

I replied to Noin who said that with “thank you.”

“I’m sorry again, Asher-sama. I wish I could have dealt with it on my own.”

It’s frustrating that, even in terms of status and the lack of allies, there are things I can’t do on my own.

Although I can somehow do it with my skills, I don’t want to use them openly, so I can’t move.

“You worry too much about your surroundings.”

Asher-sama says with a sigh.

“Do I worry too much…?”

But I felt that if I didn’t stay humble, if I didn’t have anything besides my skills, if I couldn’t even use those skills to be useful, then I would be too much of a liability…

“Everyone lives by causing inconvenience to their surroundings. And when we decided to help you, we expected things like this to happen. Rather, it’s our failure that we couldn’t avoid it. That’s why.”

Asher-sama looked at me.

“If you receive a suspicious letter from now on, call either Lars or me, even if you have to keep the other person waiting.”

“…Yes, I understand.”

I nod.

But I was not convinced and it seems that Asher-sama noticed that I nodded just because I thought it was bad for him.

I was explained further.

“You are the personnel necessary for Lars’s research. And Lars’s research is such a serious thing that he will spend his life on it…that’s why Lars won’t let you go. In the first place, if he decides to keep you in his heart, he is not the kind of person who will turn his palm over just because you behave selfishly at times. I also…am such an existence for Lars.”

Asher-sama talks a little more.

“It’s true that I was born in a foreign country. Because of a complex bloodline, everyone hated to accept me, but he accepted me. I have been working as Lars’s kind-hearted assistant for many years. Even if I’m a bother to my family now, I don’t care. It’s a hassle to apologize every time.”

I felt that Asher-sama was encouraging me.

He is a gruff but kind person who is hard to understand.

I was able to be convinced because that’s what Asher-sama said.

“Yes, I am now convinced.”

I was able to reply with a little smile.

Chapter 61: Elena’s Scheme

“You’ve got a smirking face… huh.”

She gets angry every time she remembers it.

Even now, when my father is refusing to acknowledge Albert and is promoting my engagement to the prince, it’s the same.

It’s good that my marriage partner is the prince. Aside from the fact that he doesn’t particularly like me and treats me openly harshly. If I think about eventually becoming a queen, it will fulfill Elena’s self-esteem.

Yes, it’s good to have a marriage partner.

If the prince treats Elena as an obstacle like that, he would ignore Elena no matter who she becomes close to.

It’s not strange for royals to play with fire.

It’s also not strange for a queen’s salon to invite noble men.

Even if the relationship with that noble man becomes too close, as long as the aftermath can be handled, it’s fine.

Elena, who has been influenced by noble education, doesn’t think that’s strange.

Even so, I can’t give up on making my favorite partner mine alone.

“Albert-sama… why didn’t you ask me for help?”

Before I knew it, Albert had become engaged to Linea, the daughter of Count Elvasti.

When I blame my father, he says, “Eventually, you’ll become a queen and you can take Albert in your hands.”

But I know.

The income from the territory didn’t go as well as expected, and it wasn’t possible to provide financial support to Albert’s house.

Even if Elena really liked Albert, it would be quite difficult for the Count’s son, Albert, to propose to the Duke’s daughter…

“Because I am a high-class flower.”

Elena comforted herself in such a way.

And she took out her frustration on Linea, who had gotten Albert.

The woman who had gotten what she wanted.

She must have begged her father, who was said to have no blood or tears, for Albert who she missed.

Of course, Elena did not see the facts. The Count Elvasti’s side would be more likely to grant it, and that’s why Albert’s father brought up the marriage proposal.

Even if the marriage proposal with the prince came up, it wouldn’t be strange for Elena, but the Count’s house, which seemed to be collapsing, couldn’t bring up a marriage proposal to her.

But Elena, who was raised to be a butterfly or a flower in terms of etiquette, and was never allowed to look at commoners, was instilled with a sense of discrimination.

She must come before anyone else, since she is second to the royal family and has a higher status. That’s what Elena, who has lived thinking that way, is filled with the feeling of being outdone by Linea, who is lower than her.

“Why can’t I, with my high status, get what I want?”

“If only Lars-sama weren’t in the way.”

Lars, who holds the right to succeed to the throne, is special even among the Elenas. He is also known to have a deep relationship with the sacred flower and the temple.

What kind of wicked woman would be caught up with such a person like Linea?

Elena sincerely thought so.

“Count Herkuvis seems to have no memory of breaking the engagement. But being taken in by a prestigious house after leaving a notorious one to become a foster daughter… I’m sure she’s manipulating him and they’re talking about getting married. I won’t allow her to be happy like that.”

Elena gnaws on her fingernails while thinking.

She wants to somehow knock that irritating Linea down to the bottom of the earth.

“If I can’t get married… No, if we could just get rid of the thing in the first place…”

However, Elena knows that she can’t take matters into her own hands.

While thinking about whether there was any way, a servant with brown hair entered the room. He is Dior, who has served for many years and is a few years younger than Elena.

He was about to be abandoned by my father because, but because he didn’t like his face. but when I liked his face so much that I took him as my own and he loved me very much.

“Elena-sama, I’m back.”

“Is there anything you can report?”

Elena asks with a sigh. Dior has been searching for Albert’s house for a long time.

Mainly because I wanted to know if Albert was interested in me or if I could turn Albert around.

But in the past few months, there has been no good news. I thought this time would be the same.

“That is… Elena-sama. I have something I would like to tell you.”

“What is it?”

“Someone from the Count Herkuvis house has been coming and going in the western forest of the capital for a while now, and it seems that person has also been coming and going from the Count Elvasti house.”

Elena frowned.

“To the Count Elvasti house? Did you track them?”

“Of course.”

Dior nods.

“I met Count Elvasti… apparently he was talking about something that had to do with the incident three years ago.”

“Three years ago…”

That was the year the Michelia Count’s house fell into ruin.

To put it another way, it was when the Count Allerid family was crushed by the Count Elvasti and Duke Augren families.

“Apparently, the Count Herkuvis family secretly acquired that item three years ago in relation to that incident.”

“…demon beast.”

“Yes, maam.”

Dior bows to Elena.

A demon beast is a beast with greater and higher combat ability than a human.

Elena does not know why such a thing is born, but it is said that demon beasts are secretly collected on the other side of the world and used for various plots.

A demon beast does not easily die when stabbed with a sword. It takes a considerable amount of time and many sacrifices to defeat it, or magic must be used.

In any case, a demon beast existed on the land of the late Count Allerid family three years ago.

“Surely… that means the Count Elvasti family was being supplied with what was needed?”

Demon beasts require special feed to maintain or tame, and it is unlikely that the Herkuvis household, rumored to be in financial difficulty, can continue to provide it.

“That’s why… he borrowed money from the Count’s household to continue your engagement with Linea.”

Rather, it is likely that they received things related to demon beasts under the pretense of borrowing money.

Elena finally understood why Count Herkuvis was determined to continue the engagement with Linea at any cost.

“In that case, there is a way.”

Elena plans in her head.

A plan to save Albert.

Chapter 62: Invitation to a party

Upon arriving at Duke Svald’s mansion, there was an uneasy atmosphere.

The servants were bustling about. It was unusual for the Duke Svald household.

I asked Gustav, the head of the Duke’s household who had come to greet me.

“Is something wrong?”

“Suddenly, we received an invitation to a party from the palace. The Duke is asked to attend, and the king’s chamberlain personally brought the invitation as a messenger. We have been slightly busy preparing to receive him. I apologize for making My Lady uneasy.”

“Don’t worry, I was just a little curious.”

But it was unusual for a chamberlain to bring an invitation to a party. Usually, a knight would bring a letter as a messenger.

“It must be because the invitation was sudden and the king took that into consideration.”

Gustav said this with a smile, but it was rare for a chamberlain to come to an ordinary noble’s house.

It is true that a week’s notice is sudden, but Lars-sama must be considered an important person, and that is why they are taking such care.

“Oh, you’re talking about the party?”

Lars-sama himself came in.

Perhaps because he was with the chamberlain a short time ago, he always wears high-quality clothes rather than what he usually wears at home. Today’s uniform of white and gray also gives Lars-sama a noble and pure impression.

“How is Miss Linea’s preparation?”

“No, it’s not yet ready.”

Gustav, who answered Lars-sama’s question, lowers himself gently as if to avoid the approaching man.

“Miss Linea, I have a request.”

“Whatever you want.”

I have no choice but to comply with Lars-sama’s request because I know he is a person who does not speak unreasonable things.

“I want you to attend the party with me in one week.”

“Is it at the palace?”

The palace party is a debutante party for adult men and women that I have attended only once.

I assume there must be a reason for Lars-sama’s proposal.

“Yes. I need a companion, and it has been suggested that you be my companion.”

“Me…”

Why did the daughter of the Elvasti family, who is disliked even by the royal family, become a foster child? Did they just want to call me out of curiosity… or did they want to laugh at me in front of a large audience?

But if I’m being called as Lars-sama’s companion, they shouldn’t be able to laugh at me.

Lars-sama chuckles at me, who doesn’t understand the intentions of the royal family.

“You don’t have to think too deeply about it. Probably out of curiosity. They probably wanted to observe you, who didn’t come out much because I protected you. For my part…”

At that point, Lars-sama becomes a little sinister-looking.

“I’m also considering using that to increase your friends.”

“I-Indeed.”

At the royal palace party, many nobles with some influence attend.

In addition, many people who are friendly to me through Lars-sama’s transmission will also give me a good impression.

“… But I’m afraid it’s not so easy when you have a victim of your own father. Especially the royal family.”

My real father also makes trouble for the royal family. So as members of the royal family, they might want to say something unpleasant to me, even if it’s just a little.

I think it’s a bit of a hassle to specifically invite Lars-sama to the party, but if they can call me to a place where they can approach me in that way, even if it’s a roundabout way, it’s a noble’s way of thinking to think that they can threaten or be unpleasant.

Indeed it’s troublesome and it feels like it only creates negatives, but there are also people who won’t be able to feel at ease unless they do it. That’s the troublesome part.

(There are also times when it’s better for one’s feelings to be settled…)

It’s not good for humans to bottle things up. They often explode and things get weird. That’s why I often stay quiet without saying anything back.

“It’s okay. I will definitely protect you. Kvasir will also be attending, so you won’t be alone.”

Since they said that much, I smile and reply to Lars-sama.

“Understood. I will attend.”

“Great. Speaking of which, it seems you returned quite late. Did something happen? Noin also came back with you, which is unusual.”

Right, Noin was at the Academy on business for Lars-sama, but we came back together.

Just as I was about to apologize for Noin, they reported to Lars-sama first.

“I apologize, I was caught by Duke Augren’s daughter, Elena, and caused Linea-sama some trouble.”

“Caught?”

Lars-sama’s expression clouds over.

I didn’t want to trouble him, but I had to report it. I explained.

“Miss Elena tried to bother me and used Noin. It seems that Miss Elena was trying to forcibly create a situation where Noin and I were having a rendezvous in order to spread rumors about me. But thanks to Asher-sama’s help, I was able to return safely.”

Even though there was a problem, it was resolved and I told him, but Lars-sama expressionlessly asked Noin.

Chapter 63: Your flowery words are too sweet

“I thought you wouldn’t be caught by that lady, Miss Linea?”

“I seem to have let my guard down. I apologize.”

Noin does not make any unnecessary excuses and simply apologizes.

And then Asher-sama laughs.

“But Miss Linea’s reply was interesting. You don’t often see the face of a haughty lady who has lost her composure like that.”

Hm? Did I say something?

I seem not to understand, and Lars-sama seems interested in what happened. Asher-sama tells them.

“Do you have a desire, Elena-sama, to lead your beloved one astray? Is that it?”

“Yes.”

I definitely said that.

“Because Elena-sama is determined to elope and become a commoner… if you do that, wouldn’t it be a hassle for Noin to lose his job?”

“…Hmph.”

Lars-sama couldn’t hold it in and burst out laughing.

Noin, who was listening next to him, also seems to be itching his mouth.

“Is it really that funny? Noin is not under my control, and I don’t have the personal assets to hire him. If I carelessly agree, all we can see is a future where the two of us are lost.

I can’t do it because it will be revealed that I work for a noble family. If I were to be offered such a proposal from me, it would be troublesome, and it would be difficult to refuse? I thought it might not be a burden in that sense.”

As he explains, Noin made a face as if he were holding back his laughter and politely bowed with a look of enjoyment.

“If you genuinely wish for me, I might have followed you, Linea-sama. I am deeply touched that you seriously think of me like that.”

“Noin, it’s no good. I’m not the type to run away just because it looks a little interesting. I don’t really understand the life of a commoner, and I can’t even cook. I’ve learned a little bit of cleaning from Katie, but I don’t think I can earn money that way. It will be a poor living.”

At that point, Asher-sama couldn’t hold back and burst out laughing.

He seems to have thought it was rude to laugh openly in front of her, and laughed facing the wall a little away.

Why are you laughing so much?

“W-Why do you think you can feed me?”

Between bursts of laughter, those were the words that sounded sharp.

“In this pattern, should I be responsible if I run away?”

“Well, I thought that the man should do something about it as well. If we ran away together, we would be accomplices. A proposal where only one person takes responsibility… Well, heh heh.”

Noin laughs while responding.

Then, holding back laughter and wiping away tears that welled up at the corners of his eyes, Lars-sama says:

“You are such a wonderful person that you want to protect, and even if you don’t take care of the other person yourself, there are many people who want to offer you tributes.”

“Is that so?”

For the past 16 years, I have always been hated.

I have already learned that being hated has nothing to do with wealth, the quality of clothes, humble attitudes, or manners.

Even if I became a commoner, I don’t know what kind of excuses they would come up with.

But Lars-sama continues with a gentle smile, “It’s okay.”

“I am also one of the people who want to offer you tribute. By the way, I had some decorations delivered to your room. There aren’t enough to match your dress, so…

Beautiful emeralds like your beautiful eyes and diamonds that go well with any dress, made using gold and silver respectively, are waiting for you to confirm.”

“…Eh?”

Emeralds? Diamonds?

“Well, I can’t accept so many kinds. I also brought some things from home…”

Even though I’m already a burden, I’ve brought more problems.

When I said that, Lars-sama’s fingertips touched my mouth and silenced me.

“I prepared them to decorate you. Don’t say such sad things like you don’t need them, okay?”

“Even if you decorate me…”

I don’t think it will be very enjoyable.

“You are beautiful enough, Linea. If possible, I’d like to fill your room with sacred flowers.”

I round my eyes at Lars’s words.

I can’t believe I’m being described with such flowery language. Yet he looks at me with eyes that believe I am truly beautiful.

Before I know how to respond, Lars says “Well then, I’ll see you at dinner time” and leaves.

I stand there for a while, almost frozen, but I’m urged by Katie who greeted me and decide to go to my room.

I was told strange things, but … surely he was joking.

I reconsider this while walking. They just said it to me kindly, trying to make me feel good.

So I have to make sure it’s not a mistake.

I must never genuinely accept Lars-sama’s sweet words. I told myself that.

Chapter 64: Choosing a dress is a big job

Preparing for the party was tough afterwards. Almost only I needed to prepare.

Men can manage to wear the same outfit every time unless they are very comfortable with clothes.

There are not so many types in shape, so if you arrange a few colors and materials, it will be enough. Sometimes you have to change colors and materials when the trend changes.

It seems that Lars-sama regularly adjusts and renews his outfit in advance for sudden outings.

However, I can’t do that.

In the first place, it takes time for a woman’s dress to change the impression by making major adjustments. It takes even more time to make a new one.

Moreover, it is one week later.

I wondered what to do, but the problem was quickly solved.

Irena, the head housekeeper of the Duke Svald family, asked, “Which one do you want, the dress made by Count Radin or the one made by Lars-sama?”

“What, two?!”

There are not so many dresses made for going to a night party because the trend changes slightly.

And although I was able to take my family’s dresses with me thanks to my adoption more peacefully than I had imagined, I had only day dresses when I was at the Count Elvasti house because I was not supposed to go to the party.

Therefore, I thought that I had no choice but to make a new one.

But I didn’t know that they had already made two dresses. And apparently both of them would be finished around three days before the party.

Surprised, Ireina, the housekeeper, smiles at me.

“It seems that Count Radin was considering attending a party in order to introduce Miss Linea, who was welcomed as a foster daughter. In fact, he has requested the making of two dresses, and one of them will be finished first.”

“Count Radin is so kind.”

I feel like my heart is full.

Not only does he treat the troublesome person kindly by welcoming her as a foster daughter, but he also tries to properly inform those around him that she is his official daughter.

Not only does he have the determination to treat her as his own daughter, but I think Count Radin is also trying to show his affection in his own way.

I was so moved because I didn’t think there was someone like a god.

“It seems that Lars-sama also intended to accompany Miss Linea to the party, but not in this way. Therefore, he has already requested the making of three dresses, and one of them will arrive just three days before the party, My Lady.

Of course, you are also attending the tea party, and several new dresses for the daytime are expected to arrive soon.”

“He’s been so considerate. What should I say to thank you…”

Lars-sama had always intended to take me to various parties and dinners to make friends from the start.

I imagine he must be busy with work related to the sacred flower, work as a Duke, and also having to appear at the Academy. It’s reassuring to go to the party together, but I feel sorry for him.

“It’s okay, My Lady. Lars-sama seems to be enjoying himself.”

“Is he having fun?”

“Of course.”

Ileana smiled with a sincere expression.

“Because he likes scheming.”

If she says so, then I’ll believe it.

If I worry too much and hesitate, it will be unpleasant for Lars-sama, who has prepared so kindly.

“So, which one will you choose?”

Ileana asked again which dress to wear.

“I’ll decide after seeing the real thing.”

It’s reasonable to compare the real thing and decide which one is more suitable for the occasion.

Chapter 65: Idle Talk — Invitation to Michelia 1

It is very hard to pull up the water-filled bucket.

It was so heavy that I dropped it many times in the beginning.

Each time I was scolded by my colleagues, and in the end, I always heard the same thing.

——What are you pretending to be when you’re not a noblewoman anymore?

“I understand, such a thing.”

While pouring water into the bucket she brought, Michelia mutters.

“My father and mother are no longer here. There is no longer a house to live in. It burned down.”

Mother was interrogated by the sudden creditors and was desperate.

Even when an envoy came from the royal family to revoke the title, she became too stretched and started muttering something every day.

Michelia’s father said he was going to consult about the debts and never came back.

Then the servants, who had been friendly until then, scolded Michelia and left, turning their palms.

Michelia, who was left behind, was with her mother, who continued to mutter about something. However, one day, a servant forgot to take care of the fire and the mansion caught fire.

On that day, I could only stare at the mansion burning and losing sight of my mother and losing my home.

Albert, who once talked about making a eternal love, didn’t even come to help.

What came was a woman from a neighboring house who saw the flames and smoke.

She came because she was worried about the flames spreading to the surrounding forest. Rather, she was surprised that Michelia was still in the mansion, even though she had already lost her noble title. It seems that she thought Michelia had disappeared with her father.

She probably felt sorry for Michelia, who had been left behind.

Several of her father’s old stories hit the mark. But there are no noble families who will take Michelia in.

…But even in that family, there was no place for Michelia.

Days when I am only faced with glances that seem to be saying “Please leave soon.”

That’s why Michelia took the opportunity to get a job.

I thought it would be better to be a commoner than to stay here.

The Academy I went to is in this capital, thinking that I could at least do the cleaning I had to learn at the neighboring family’s house.

I was not very good at cleaning and was not welcomed by my colleagues, the servants.

However, in the case of Michelia’s colleague, who specifically targeted Michelia, it was not a problem with how to clean.

“I wasn’t trying to be charming.”

The maids at the Academy are mostly associated with merchants coming and going or their employees, or with the Academy’s own servants, male servants, and the servants of the nobles attending the Academy.

They approach Michelia, but it seems that her colleague’s lover is jealous.

It can’t be helped.

Michelia was a noble lady.

Even without considering the difference in appearance, she had more leisure to keep her skin and hair beautiful from a young age than any other maid. She must have looked beautiful to men compared to the other maids.

The maids who have a hard time with Michelia also envy her all the more because they know this.

On the other hand, Michelia had no interest in servants and the like.

“I had someone who promised to marry me.”

It was because she was still hung up on Albert.

——Why didn’t he come to see me?

——Why didn’t he help me?

Every time I think about a grudge, I think that there must have been a reason.

I’m sure he wasn’t even allowed to send a letter by father. Or maybe the letter he wrote was crushed.

There is a possibility that Michelia’s house being seized was also kept from him.

She couldn’t have borne it if she hadn’t thought so. Michelia had only one lifeline.

He might find me soon.

It must have become difficult to know where I am because the mansion caught fire. So I’ll hold out a little longer. Until Albert finds me.

I kept living as a servant with gritted teeth because of such hope.

And two years later.

The first person I found was Linea.

The person who caused Michelia’s father to fall into ruin.

Michelia’s father borrowed money from Count Elvasti to expand the mine. But soon after construction began, a collapsing accident occurred due to a long-lasting storm, and a carriage carrying materials fell off a cliff.

To make up for it, Michelia’s father said he found a place where sacred flowers were blooming and sold the sacred flowers.

However, the buyer of the sacred flowers complained that they were very fragile and almost all of them turned into powder while they were being transported.

As a result, they were unable to make up for the debt with sacred flowers that could only be used as ingredients for sacred flower confections, and they had to give up the mine.

The Allerid family, which had already lost assets due to repeated attacks by bandits, was in dire straits…

My father sold the sacred flowers in order to quickly raise funds, and the buyer was a foreign merchant, and it was illegal, which led to the Count family being crushed.

The people of the world say that it was all the Count Elvasti family’s conspiracy because they hated the Count Elvasti family so much.

Michelia doesn’t know for sure what happened, but she suspected the Count Elvasti family’s involvement because the strange situation continued for too long.

That’s why Michelia hated Linea.

She was demoted to the status of a servant, but Linea was able to remain a noble lady.

What was even more annoying was that she was seated in Albert’s new fiancee’s seat.

Chapter 66: Idle Talk — Invitation to Michelia 2

However, the salvation was that Albert, who started going to the Academy in the same year, found Michelia.

“I’ve always wanted to see Michelia.”

Albert said he only liked Michelia.

“I didn’t want to get engaged to that dark woman who I didn’t know what she was thinking. But you were gone, and my family’s situation wasn’t very good, so I had no choice but to accept the proposal from the Count Elvasti family.”

Albert talked about his engagement to Linea in such a way.

And Michelia was delighted to hear that he still loves her. She can now escape her harsh and painful life. She doesn’t have to keep cleaning anymore.

But Albert shows no signs of rescuing Michelia. He evades her questions about the future.

Gradually, she hears the rumors.

It seems that Albert intends to continue surrounding Michelia as a commoner lover.

“Is this going to be my life as a mistress now…?”

For a moment, I became uneasy about it.

But even after I started going out with Albert, I continued to endure the bullying from the other servants.

I came to think that it couldn’t be helped.

Albert said to Michelia, who looked very apologetic, “It’s embarrassing to say, but the financial situation of my house was not much different from yours. If you touched the Count Elvasti family’s bane, you would always be given a hard time and kept from standing up. To not make my father and mother wander the streets, I have to listen to what they say.”

Hearing this story, Michelia remembered the time when she fell into ruin and resigned herself to the fact that it was inevitable.

And the more she resigned herself, the more her hatred for Linea, who would interfere with her happiness, grew.

“I can’t believe she became a foster child.”

On such a mundane day, a bolt from the blue struck.

Hateful Linea left the Count Elvasti family and became a foster child in another family.

Apparently, she said that the engagement with Albert was called off, but I couldn’t believe it.

Albert was still in the state of being engaged, he said.

Even Michelia doubted whether Albert, who was supposed to want to get married so much, would give up so easily.

“It would be better if Albert-sama just broke off the engagement as it is.”

Sighing, Michelia picks up a bucket filled with water.

The handle of the bucket digs into her hand, which has just begun to wrinkle. It used to be a smooth hand.

“Now I can’t even wear silk gloves.”

It seems like it will tear everywhere it catches.

Just as she sighed and imagined it again, she was suddenly spoken to from nearby.

“Would you like some help carrying it?”

It’s a male voice. She wondered who it was, and when she turned around, a fluffy-haired young man with golden hair was standing a few dozen steps away from Michelia. His light green jacket has almost no decoration, and the edges are trimmed with black thread.

He looks like a servant of some household.

“Who are you…?”

The golden-haired youth cheerfully answered.

“I apologize for not introducing myself. My name is Ralles. I was passing by on errands for the house I serve, but it looked like you were in trouble, so I couldn’t help but speak up. Do you always draw water at this time?”

“Generally. It’s on a rotation system, but I end up doing it when I’m procrastinating.”

If she smiles wryly, she will seem like a brave person who silently endures being forced to work by her comrades. Michelia answers while calculating this.

“It will be tough with your thin arms. I don’t always come here, but please let me help you.”

“I’m happy to, but why?”

Although Michelia had already guessed his intention from the conversation so far, she tried to make him say it.

Ralles answered honestly.

“I was worried because I thought you were in love with an untrustworthy person.”

Ralles looks kind of handsome with a slight smirk on his face.

“Untrustworthy…”

“Even though you have someone you love, you will never marry them…when I served a different master in the past, I was always troubled by that. When I see you, I remember that.”

Ralles’ words pierce Michelia’s heart.

“But that person was a noble and I am a commoner.”

Michelia said this as if to cut off his words.

An insurmountable wall has been built between them. Even so, just because he loves me, I should be satisfied.

But Ralles says.

“But you are originally supposed to be a noble young lady. If you were, couldn’t you arrange to be fostered by another noble family and make you a legitimate wife?”

“…”

Michelia can’t say anything.

She has thought about the same thing many times. She has also indirectly proposed this to Albert. But his response was weak.

“Even if you are in the shade, you miss that person.”

Michelia feels a strange impatience at the sound of a voice that seems to have given up.

So Michelia starts talking about something else.

“If only Linea weren’t here…”

“Linea?”

“…She was the young lady of the Count Elvasti family. She seems to have become a foster child of another family now, but she must be thinking of something mean again. Like when she ruined my birthplace.”

“You still hate that young lady.”

“Of course. She is the one who caused me to be in this unstable position.”

“I can’t believe it, but is that young lady attending this Academy?”

Michelia nods.

“It must be hard to see her every day.”

Ralles says with a sympathetic expression, clouding his face.

His sympathy feels good and Michelia keeps complaining.

“She’s the one who destroyed my home because she wanted Albert-sama. Even now, she’s still keeping Albert, who doesn’t have any feelings for her, in check. Because of her, Albert can’t choose me.”

“Your crush is being held captive by that young lady.”

“I want to help and if he were freed, maybe Albert would marry me.”

After saying that, Michelia realized that it was probably unpleasant words for Ralles, who has a crush (probably) on her.

“I’m sorry, I just talked about my feelings.”

Ralles shakes his head.

“No, I wanted to talk like this. Besides, I was thinking of a little sneaky thing.”

“Something sneaky?”

When asked, Ralles chuckled and answered Michelia.

“If I helped you with your revenge on Miss Linea, would you give me just one kiss?”

Michelia’s eyes widened.

“I would be satisfied with just one kiss as a memory of love. How about it?”

Michelia, who was asked, stood there in a daze for a while.

TL: Even after reading the raw, I’m not sure I understand the context. Half of Japanese WN have a draft-free styling concept, as if they were written on a mobile phone.

Chapter 67: Preparing for the party is quite a hassle

Three days later, the completed dress exceeded Linea’s expectations by a wide margin.

“Oh, this is…”

It was too luxurious.

One dress was made by layering several layers of white chiffon like petals, then layering a beautiful blue chiffon like a lake surface, and sewing 3D chiffon roses into the neckline and shoulder of the bell sleeves like vines.

It was a dress that reminded me of a white ripple on a lake shore and a flower garden in full bloom around it.

The other dress was made of a very pale orange or pinkish-gray lustrous silk, with beautiful and delicate silver lace embroidered as flowers along the edge. The same lace was gathered in several layers on the sleeves and sewn into the neckline. The small flashes in between were diamonds.

Both were dresses with excess.

I can’t decide on just one…

Anxiety begins to well up in my heart.

“This blue dress was designed and ordered in detail by your foster father, Count Radin. He is said to have checked the process repeatedly, including the color and flower arrangement.”

Hii.

I inwardly scream. To go to such lengths to make it.

“You’re not so bad yourself, Lars. You had to pick out the lace yourself. You must have chosen the color many times over.”

Oh my.

I almost let out a shocking sigh, which is unbecoming of a young lady.

I can’t believe it was made to such a detailed order. I was a little taken aback by how much passion was put into the dress.

It would have been fine not to make such a luxurious dress.

…I thought, but on second thought, in order to stand next to the beautiful Lars-sama and participate in the royal palace party, I may have needed something like this.

I may have needed to put in effort into the dress to make my appearance look better.

However.

“Both are too beautiful to choose from.”

Even if I am told to try on either one, I want to try on both.

Even if I try to choose the more glamorous one, both are glamorous in different ways.

In the first place, I am not particularly attached to dresses. I buy new dresses for each season, but I have never had the desire to show them off to someone, stand out, or be praised.

After all, no matter what I wear, I will only be called the daughter of the devil-like Count.

In fact, I thought it might be better to come out in a completely black dress, as a matter of irony.

As a result, I ended up with a fairly safe and popular dress.

“It doesn’t seem like you’re particularly passionate about dresses.”

Lars-sama seemed to understand my thoughts.

“Don’t all women like dresses?”

Asher-sama, who seemed the least concerned, made the most indifferent comment. I think it’s because he doesn’t escort women to parties himself, so he doesn’t feel the need. Oh well.

Even if I didn’t go to parties, I wouldn’t have to worry so much.

“I don’t want to be rude to Lars-sama, who made the dress with such care, so I’d like to hear Katie’s opinion.”

I turned my gaze to the maid who were spreading out the dresses.

“Katie, which one do you like?”

I intentionally asked Katie for her preference. If I asked which one was better, I think she would feel too responsible to give her opinion freely.

“I think Lars-sama’s dress is good,” Katie said, glancing briefly at Lars-sama.

Oops. If I asked for opinions while Lars-sama was around, it was certain that she would give Lars-sama the full benefit of the doubt. After all, Lars-sama is currently Katie’s employer.

But perhaps Katie also thought that she was not expressing her own opinion enough, as she explained the reason for her choice.

“It’s not just the color of this beautiful dawn-like dress, but the silver thread lace is so beautiful and will make My Lady Linea stand out even more, I think.”

“I’m glad you appreciate the compliment.”

Lars-sama seems to have felt Katie’s feelings and only says thanks.

“Um, how about Ileana? Stepmother’s dress is also hard to throw away.”

With this way of speaking, it would be easy to praise your stepmother’s dress even in front of your employer. In fact, if this question were to lead to choosing Lars-sama’s dress, it seems that Ileana would prefer it.

Ileana answered with an understanding expression.

“It seems that Count Radin’s dress will make My Lady look very elegant and cute for a woman of her age. The Duke’s dress, on the other hand, might highlight My Lady’s dignity. Would you like to choose the dress you will wear on the day based on this difference?”

“I see.”

What Ileana told me is very useful. I should think about how I look in a dress and how I want to show myself at the royal party.

“Lars-sama said that he wanted to increase my allies at the party. Should I wear a soft atmosphere or would it be better to attract attention from those around me?”

Lars-sama chose the stage. Ultimately, I should wear a dress that follows his wishes.

“That’s right.”

Lars-sama nodded.

“I wanted to change other people’s impressions of you. Considering your previous impressions, it might be better for you to give a friendly and easy-to-talk-to impression. That is to say.”

He gives a bitter smile.

“I also wanted to see you a little bit in the dress made by Count Radin.”

I am relieved. Now the dress selection is over.

“Then, I would like to wear the dress that my foster father has prepared for me.”

“Can you leave the choice of accessories to me, Miss Linea?”

“Of course, Lars-sama.”

Finally, the dress selection is over.

Feeling relieved, Lars-sama quickly gave instructions to Irene.

“Ileana, can you bring the box of accessories? Something that goes with that dress.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ileana bowed and quickly left, then returned with a few boxes of jewels.

The amber-colored wooden jewel box does not seem to contain anything important at first glance. Probably for security.

However, when the box is opened, beautiful sparkling jewels appear.

Diamonds, aquamarine, rubies, sapphires…

“I think aquamarine is the best match for the dress among these.”

Lars-sama picked up a silver necklace with a beautiful green aquamarine and diamond arranged in the shape of a plant.

“Ileana, please prepare some earrings that go with this. I think I have some.”

“I understand.”

Now the decorations are also decided.

“Thank you for everything.”

I don’t know how to thank him, so first I will express my gratitude to Lars-sama.

Then Lars-sama shows a slightly mischievous smile.

“I was planning to prepare clothes to match Miss Linea’s dress, so I’m glad you decided quickly. My late mother, for example, took about three days to decide on the color of her dress.”

I just laugh for now.

Women do tend to take a long time to choose a dress. It’s not that Lars-sama’s mother was particularly indecisive.

Chapter 68: Even so, wearing a dress is enjoyable

In the following days until the party, I spent my time learning the names and faces of the attendees.

After all, I don’t attend parties very often.

Although I’ve met a certain number of nobles, I don’t remember them unless they are particularly memorable.

There are no nobles who want to invite the daughter of the Elvasti family to their home, so it doesn’t matter if I forget.

I somehow remember the faces of the young ladies and children attending the Academy, but the more troublesome thing is that there is a high possibility that the other person remembers me well because we have met once.

If they realize that I don’t remember them, there may be another confrontation.

I asked Lars-sama, who explained the situation, to tell me the characteristics of the attendees, especially those who I should deepen my friendship with, and try to remember them.

And finally, the day of the party arrived.

I took the day off from the Academy. I don’t want to be held up on the way there and back because it takes time to prepare.

I woke up slowly in the morning.

Katie brought me a cup of tea and I savored the luxury of waking up my eyes slowly while drinking it.

The tea leaves are made from young leaves from Lineat. They have a refreshing feeling like oranges.

“It’s really luxurious…”

Thinking about it, I have never had this tea at the Elvasti household. My surprisingly frugal real father doesn’t seem to be so particular about expensive tea, and it wasn’t always stocked at home.

When I wake up, it’s breakfast.

After that, I spend some relaxed time. During that time, the servants are preparing to go to the party.

After eating a late lunch, I take a bath to change clothes.

It takes a long time to dry my hair and have tea. Therefore, I won’t be able to make it to the Academy on time.

When my hair is dry, I finally put on my dress.

I wear the dress chosen by Count Radin. It wasn’t too heavy because it used a lot of light chiffon, despite having many decorations.

Next is makeup.

However, it is not recommended to put a lot of makeup on your own face. It is said that being natural is beautiful. There have been problems with cosmetics in the past, and since the queen became angry, it has been that way.

Therefore, noble women use light makeup.

I lightly sprinkle pearl powder and lightly color my eyes and lips with lipstick. That’s it. This minimal makeup is currently popular.

It is only permitted for women over the age of 30 to apply thick powder and apply clear color to (around) their eyes.

Make curls on hair by applying a heat pad.

Then make a flow by combing it out and tying it up. In the past, it was basic to tie up the hair neatly after becoming an adult, but now it is not necessary.

It seems that Katie and the others decided to tie up only the upper half of my hair to put flowers in my hair.

The flowers are roses of the same color as the dress. However, if you put too many, it will look lumpy, so I should place small roses and pearl hair ornaments.

After those were finished, I put on some decorations.

The aquamarine necklace matches the dress like a part of it. It’s complete with the same aquamarine earrings.

“You look very beautiful, My Lady.”

“Thank you, Katie. Ileana and the others also worked hard.”

When I say thank you, Ileana smiles.

“I was very happy to be able to decorate the lovely My Lady. The Duke is a very handsome man, but he cannot wear a dress of course.”

I can’t help but laugh at those words.

As a final touch, I pick up some light snacks.

There is no meal at today’s party. And even if food is provided for the purpose of talking to people, it will be a struggle to drink anything. It’s embarrassing if my stomach starts to growl before I eat something.

Along with these snacks, sacred flower confections were served.

The meringue, arranged around sandwiches on a large plate like pink flower petals, looks like it’s fun to look at and is visually pleasing, as if looking at a flower garden.

“His Grace Duke said It may brighten your mood. Please enjoy, Linea-sama.”

“Brighten…”

I wonder if that means to feel happy.

Either way, I am happy for this kind consideration. My heart warms before I even eat anything.

I took a bite of the meringue.

As I put it in my mouth, it melted away like I was eating a cloud. The only thing left is a slightly strange feeling.

I feel like flower petals scattered in front of my eyes.

It was interesting and surprising, and my mood did indeed change. It was a little bit fun.

“I see, it does brighten the mood…right.”

I didn’t know that such interesting sacred flowers existed. It was interesting to learn about them and my mood improved.

Chapter 69: Party at the palace

It was already evening by the time we were ready for the royal palace party.

I left the room with Irene and Katie and went down to the entrance.

Lars-sama was already waiting there with Asher-sama.

“Ah…”

Lars-sama is wearing a lake-colored jacket very nicely. He must have chosen it to match my dress.

The white and silver threads depict a delicate ivy pattern, and diamonds are sprinkled throughout, making Lars-sama, who is already dazzling, even more sparkling.

To be honest, I couldn’t wear a dress that exudes such a cool atmosphere and makes such a statement from a distance. Even if someone else wore it, the clothes would stand out on their own.

The aquamarine is keeping the white cravat. It looks like we have matching jewelry, and it’s embarrassing.

Even if we match the colors, I thought we should choose easy-to-combine colors like the same hue or black and white. But if we match even the jewels, it looks like we are engaged…

(I wonder why. Even Lars-sama should know that doing this much would make me think we have that kind of relationship and make people doubt it.)

I wonder if I’m okay to be suspected. If so, there must be some advantage to doing so.

To protect me… is the most likely possibility.

Did he absolutely need to make sure that no one would lay a hand on me just because I became the adoptive child of the kind Count Radin…

While I was worrying about it, I reached the side of Lars-sama.

Lars-sama was staring at me as I descended the stairs step by step.

Perhaps he was checking to see if there was any problem.

I think there are no mistakes in the work of Ileana and Katie, but when you actually wear it, you may find that a different piece of jewelry or something else is a little better.

So I asked.

“How is it? I am very satisfied with Ileana and the others’ preparation, but if there is anything that is not enough, please let me know.”

However, Lars-sama opened his eyes wide in surprise at my question and smiled softly like the moon appearing from behind the clouds.

“No, there is no problem at all. It is very beautiful, Miss Linea.”

“Thank you for your praise. I am wearing such a wonderful dress for the first time, but thanks to you, I seem to be able to get through without feeling nervous.”

When I think that it is flattery and return it, Lars-sama extends his hand.

I am startled by the fingertips that come close to my eyes.

Then, I think about escaping reality by looking at the surprisingly strong fingers (Lars-sama is also a person who holds a sword) and those who continue to properly practice swordsmanship have thick skin on the grip.

While I was thinking that it was a hand that was different from the image called the Confectionary Duke, Lars-sama’s fingertips touched my ear.

I felt a tickling sensation on my neck, although he did not directly touch myself, by the sound of shaking hair ornaments.

When I wonder what is going on, it seems that Lars-sama has taken only one rose flower from my hair.

“Lars-sama?”

I’m not thinking that there are too many roses, but Lars-sama hangs the rose on his buttonhole.

It looks like a single rose flower is floating on the blue lake surface.

“This is good. Let’s go, Miss Linea.”

“Y-Yes…”

What is good about this? I don’t understand what you meant by wanting to match even the roses.

Without understanding what was going on, I got into the carriage with Lars-sama.

***

The palace of the Lexander kingdom is built to the north of the capital city.

During grand parties, many carriages line up on the road that passes through the low hedge of flowers set up outside the palace walls.

After passing through the hedge of flowers, you can see a fence made of iron that draws a beautiful curve with white stones stacked on top, and beyond the gate is a white palace and a beautiful green lawn.

There aren’t many carriages lined up today.

They must be limiting the number of invitees.

(In other words, this is probably a party that the royal family held only for their very close friends…)

I am going to participate in such a place. I get scared now, even though it’s too late.

The last time I participated in a palace party was just after becoming an adult. I thought that everyone must have disliked me because they were looking at me, so I tried not to look up as much as possible.

On a day like this, I didn’t want to be glared at. So I was looking away from people’s faces, thinking that as long as I didn’t see the other person’s face, it would be okay.

As a result, I don’t remember the faces of the royal family.

Although portraits of them are circulated, I didn’t have any special interest, and most of them are beautified, so they are not accurately depicted.

This time, I decided to attend, so I hurriedly asked Lars-sama to show me their portraits.. Thanks to Lars-sama’s explanation, I should have remembered the characteristics roughly.

His Majesty the King has a sharp gaze and sandy hair with red eyes.

Her Majesty the Queen has slightly slanted eyes, clear eyebrows, and golden hair.

His Royal Highness the Prince is a dreamlike person with sandy hair like dry summer sand and red eyes with a shape similar to the queen’s.

“That’s what it should be…”

I confirm it to myself, but still lack confidence and mutter.

“Is something wrong?”

Lars-sama kindly asks and, feeling sorry, I confess.

“I’m not confident that I remember the characteristics of the royal family properly.”

“It’s okay. I’ll be by your side the whole time when you greet them for the first time, so even if you don’t understand well, I think you’ll naturally remember by listening to my conversations with His Majesty and the others.”

“Yes, I will study next to you.”

I was grateful to Lars-sama for being there.

Lars-sama gets off first.

When I get off, Lars-sama extends his hand to me.

“Here you go, Miss Linea.”

“Thank you very much.”

I gratefully borrowed his hand because it was difficult to get off the carriage in a dress with a wide hem.

And when my feet touched the ground at that time, a tense atmosphere spread around.

Chapter 70: The party at the palace has begun

“That’s the daughter of Elvasti.”

“No, I heard she became the foster child of Count Radin.”

“I can’t believe that the devil-like Count would give his daughter away as a foster child without any compensation.”

“I heard later that the young lady was coldly treated by her father.”

“I don’t believe such a story.”

“But I heard it too.”

It’s my rumor.

Although I don’t recognize the faces of nobles, they remember my face well. That’s why they probably realized right away who I am and are surprised.

“Are you okay?”

Lars-sama asks me.

“I’m fine. Besides, it doesn’t seem to be all malicious. It was Lars-sama who spread accurate rumors about me, wasn’t it? That’s why I can hear words that make me feel like I have an ally who is different from usual, so I’m okay.”

If everything had been malicious, I would have used my skill to make it impossible to hear anything. But I can understand that the voices of protection are coming from people who have worked hard for me, so there is no need to block my ears.

“You are strong.”

“That’s not true. I can stand because I have an ally like you.”

Lars-sama smiled contentedly at my answer.

“Then let’s go. It’s not quite a battlefield, but it’s a stage to show off your beauty.”

Being told I’m beautiful twice makes my chest tighten.

Even though I know it’s just flattery, I wonder if he really thinks so because I’m not used to it and end up hoping for it.

I smile and finally step into the palace.

The palace servants and retainers seem to know Lars-sama’s face, but they don’t seem to know me. They show me inside with a little bit of an “I wonder who this is?” expression on their faces.

It’s the nobles who are uniformly surprised and widen their eyes.

They keep staring at me with their eyes. But they’re so surprised that they don’t particularly say anything, so it’s not a problem.

The more impressive reaction was when I entered the party venue.

The people who turned around all stopped chatting at once. This caused a ring of silence to form around the entrance, which attracted the attention of the others and made them see me. And then the ring of silence spread throughout the venue.

“It’s quite spectacular.”

Lars-sama shows off a playful attitude without seeming to care much.

“I think it’s good that it’s quiet.”

It’s much better than being nervous. I walk towards the back with Lars-sama, feeling somewhat relieved compared to before.

“Hey, you two made it.”

There was Kvasir in front of us. He was a foster child of the royal family, so he was probably invited to this party. With him were Ernest-sama and Miss Brenda, and Miss Brenda’s friends Tricia-sama and Rogina-sama.

“Hello everyone. I am very happy to meet you here.”

When I greet them like this, Tricia-sama and Rogina-sama immediately respond.

“I’m happy to meet you too. And your dress is so lovely! I’m envious.”

“Linea-sama, it really suits you. It’s flashy, but beautiful.”

I’m happy and a little apologetic to be praised so much.

“Tricia-sama and Rogina-sama are also very beautiful. Tricia-sama’s soft, bright colors suit you very well, and just looking at them makes me feel happy. Rogina-sama’s deep blue is very mature and nice.”

After praising each other for a while, Kvasir appears from the side.

“You’re surprisingly bold. I thought you would be more afraid and had prepared various talks to calm your feelings, but it wasn’t necessary.”

Kvasir started to say that. I wonder what kind of talks he had prepared to calm my feelings.

Miss Brenda asked the same question as me.

“What kind of talk did you prepare?”

“Like the story of the Duchess’s first party failure over there. I heard she stepped on her hem and fell down the stairs grandly.”

“Ouch, that looks painful.”

It’s bad to fall in a place like that. On stairs, you might hit your shin or hit your arm trying to protect yourself.

I somehow end up looking at the middle-aged Duchess in a reddish-purple dress, hoping she didn’t get a big injury.

“There are others. Like the Count on the right side. The person he invited to the royal palace party was the fiance of the king’s younger brother.”

“Oh.”

“I heard that his relationship with the royal family was somewhat awkward for a while. So, even if it’s a little embarrassing, there are more amazing predecessors who have done something even more impressive. And there’s also Lars-sama who will follow you, so don’t worry.”

It seems that Kvasir was trying to cheer me up.

While talking about such things, it seems that the invited nobles have all gathered and the royal family has entered.

“His Royal Highness Prince Conrad, enter.”

A servant who waits in front of the door reads his name.

Then, a young man enters the living room through the opened door.

In the midst of the glittering people like a shimmering water surface illuminated by the light of a chandelier with jewel, gold, and silver embroidery, he advanced proudly.

Hair of sandy color, illuminated by strong light, is probably red in eye color from a distance. The slightly squinting eyes can be confirmed from here. The appearance of advancing while flipping the long black jacket is brisk like a knight.

Above all, I involuntarily shudder with my body because the appearance is exactly the same as the person I saw in my dreams.

Chapter 71: The audience is full of nerves

“Are you cold?”

Lars-sama, who was sitting next to me, noticed it.

“I’m okay. I just feel a little scared.”

If I say this, Lars-sama seems to think that I am considering royal family members as scary people from my own situation.

“Please be at ease. I will definitely protect you.”

My heart leaps at the casually spoken words.

I’ve never heard such words from anyone before. It’s like a line that a knight serving a princess or a man loving a noblewoman would say in a story.

That’s why it makes me excited.

I am aware that Lars-sama did not say these sweet words from love. To reassure me. I must not misunderstand.

As if seeing through my such thoughts, Lars-sama whispered in my ear.

“I know you are strong, but there are times when you cannot stand up alone. And because you cannot have an escort in places like this, at this time, I swear to protect you as your knight.”

I have a delusion that my heart is melting at the sweet words.

To wake up my such consciousness, the king and queen entered next.

“His Majesty Aldias, Her Royal Highness Queen Alegria.”

The king, who had a gentle atmosphere, was wearing a mantle with a gold Chinese grass pattern on a white background. His clothes were a deep navy that matched the white mantle.

Her Majesty the Queen, who was walking next to him, was wearing a beautiful white dress with a gold and blue pattern. Her expression may have been stern because she was naturally a bit sharp-eyed.

When they sat in chairs placed on the altar at the wall, the orchestra that had been waiting at the edge began to play music.

Amid the mellow sounds, people made a line to greet His Majesty the King while chatting.

“Let’s line up.”

I nodded to Lars-sama’s voice and intended to slowly face each other at the end, but that didn’t happen.

“Please go first, Duke Svald.”

“I don’t mind going later, so go ahead.”

The nobles say this in unison and Lars-sama and I are pushed up in turn.

Before I knew it, we were at the point where it was our turn as soon as the person in front finished.

“La, Lars-sama.”

“If you are asked anything, I will try to answer as much as possible, so just nod or supplement it.”

When he said that, it was finally our turn.

I can feel the nobles behind me watching me with interest. It hurts to feel their gaze piercing my back.

I see, they must have come to hear what His Majesty has to say about me. What a bother.

But now that things have come to this, I have no choice but to resolve myself.

I secretly took a deep breath and walked in front of His Majesty.

I don’t know what will be said if we make eye contact, so I lower my gaze and look at the white marble floor. Oh, there’s a fossil.

“Thank you for inviting me to today’s party. I was eager to come at your invitation, Your Majesty.”

Lars-sama greets him in a familiar manner. As expected, someone who has talked with the royal family many times is different.

While looking at the fossil shell, I was about to tremble with fear and unable to escape reality.

What should I do if something is said?

I am used to hearing insults and nonsense, but I do not have the skill to smoothly deflect them or turn them into something else. All I can do is pray that I don’t give an outrageous reply.

“Welcome, Duke Lars Svald. Sorry for the sudden invitation.”

“There is no need for Your Majesty to be concerned. If you call me, I will come.”

A peaceful conversation begins. However, between the words, subtle nuances are hidden and not spoken.

In the case of His Majesty, he apologized for the sudden invitation, but from the point of sending the royal chamberlain specifically, he must have requested that he definitely attend. So it means “If I invite you (if there are no other matters), you will come running.”

On the other hand, Lars-sama’s side is making statements like a loyal subject, but honestly, it seems that this time’s invitation was also not a matter of coming specially to beg, but rather a lack of interest in coming.

Therefore, it must mean “If you invite me (if there are no other matters), I will come.”

He can’t directly tell His Majesty such a thing, so he just changed the words to something that seems appropriate.

His Majesty probably understands this as well.

“I understand that you are busy, so I didn’t want to bother you, but since it’s a rare opportunity, I thought I’d take a look.”

Even though he cut off his words there, I feel like His Majesty is looking this way.

It means that he conveyed to me indirectly that he wanted to see me.

There may be many reasons, but I’m sure he wanted to know whether I really didn’t use any tricks, or whether Lars-sama was involved in my real father’s scheming.

After a few seconds of silence, the queen interjected from the side.

“It’s a very nice dress. Did you prepare this, Duke?”

The nobles behind him rustle at those words.

I also think this is a normal reaction.

Even though I am being supported and consider Lars-sama my second foster father, I accept the dress because I do. However, normally, if a man who is not a relative gives a dress, he should be a fiance.

***TL: 自分では養ってもらっている身で,Lars-samaを第二の養父だと思っているから,ドレスを贈られても受け入れている.

But in this case, it’s okay not to honestly say so.

There are people who secretly give dresses to their loved ones, and it’s fine as long as the person doesn’t affirm it.

That’s why if Lars-sama honestly said that he gave it, there would be a big commotion. Some of the rustling people probably just want a disturbance because they are hungry for entertainment.

But there is no worry about this time.

“No, this was given by her new foster father, Count Radin. He made it with great care and attention so that everyone would know that he accepted her as a daughter when she went to her first party as a daughter.”

“Oh, it’s a shame. I thought you had finally decided on a partner.”

The queen smiles mischievously.

“When a beautiful young lady started living in your mansion, didn’t many of the ladies cry and wet their pillows?”

“It is an honor. I am not the kind of person who deserves to be thought of that way, however.”

“You’re being too modest.”

His Majesty laughed as he said this.

And finally, the conversation turned to me.

Chapter 72: I received an invitation

“Count Radin’s daughter.”

“Y-Yes.”

I manage to reply.

“It’s been since your debut in society since I saw you last. I haven’t talked much with your father because of various things, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to hear various things.”

Uh…what do you want to know? I don’t really want to talk about it if possible.

I can’t say that.

“Thank you for your kindness.”

I had to use the appropriate words of gratitude.

But this is just a formality. No matter how much, it shouldn’t be possible to talk in detail with His Majesty during a party. That’s what I thought.

“If you don’t mind, please come to the waiting room later?”

I was firmly invited to talk by the queen.

I can’t escape this…

Feeling bloodless, I look at Lars-sama next to me.

He seems to be worried about me too, and our eyes meet just then.

(If it comes to this, we have to talk in a separate room again. I’m sorry…)

Lars-sama seemed to be saying that to me in my eyes.

(I understand. I can’t refuse to be promised like this. I’ll do my best.)

I nodded small to Lars-sama, meaning this.

Lars-sama seems to have guessed correctly, and answers about the invitation.

“I understand. Please call me at a convenient time. I will be waiting.”

In this way, my plan to just show my face and leave immediately was thwarted.

I felt like I had aged ten years in an instant and returned to my original place with a wobble.

There were few people at the window where Brenda was. They were all lined up for greeting, but were not there.

“Would you like something to drink?”

Lars-sama asks me.

“Would you like me to pour you a sip of wine, if you don’t mind?”

I nod to the invitation.

“If it’s not too strong…”

The alcohol is not that strong. But I felt like drinking alcohol now.

“You, mix wine with juice for her. I’ll have a regular wine.”

“Understood.”

The servant nearby accepts Lars-sama’s request and goes to get a drink. It was fast to get a drink because almost everyone is now lined up for greeting. The servant returns quickly.

I received it and drank half of it in one go.

Even if it was mixed with juice, the wine only had to be a quarter of the concentration. Even if I drank a lot, I didn’t feel the alcohol. Instead, I felt that the sweetness helped relieve some of the fatigue in my head.

“You seem to have calmed down.”

“Yes, thank you. I’m really sorry for leaving most of the response to you.”

I thank Lars-sama.

“It was something I had already decided to do. It would be more troublesome if you panicked and ran wild.”

Lars-sama says this with a mischievous smile.

“Hey, you two seem to be getting along well.”

Kvasir has returned early. He explains that he was surprised by the terrifying speed.

“Even if it’s rotten, it’s the royal family, so I was given priority for greeting. I was two behind you.”

It was natural that it was early when I heard the circumstances.

And we also came here very quickly.

“Excuse me, Your Grace Duke Svald, Count Radin’s daughter.”

A palace servant appeared by our side without making a sound.

“A separate room has been prepared. When time permits, His Majesty and Her Majesty will also come, so please move ahead first.”

“Is it already time?”

I thought I would have a little time to relax, but it seems that I don’t even have that much leisure.

Rather, it’s clear from the way they quickly prepared the room that they had absolutely no intention of letting me go.

Why do they want to talk to me so much? Are they going to ask me about my real father?

At that moment, Kvasir in front of me says,

“Maybe I’ll join too. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Her Majesty the Queen.”

The servant who was told this seemed to accept it with a bewildered expression.

After all, Kvasir is, although adopted, a royal offspring. He cannot be treated on par with ordinary nobles. So he probably judged that he couldn’t refuse.

I’m sorry, but I’m a little relieved, but the more companions there are, the stronger my heart will be.

Chapter 73: And the confrontation with that person

Lars-sama and I were escorted to a separate room.

It was called a waiting room, but it was a room about the size of a small hall, and the walls were decorated with lacquered plaster and trimmed with gold foil.

The chandelier that was lowered from the ceiling was made of transparent glass and reflected the candlelight dazzlingly.

It was a very luxurious room.

A palace servant brought tea and took a small sip.

It was a fragrant, soft-tasting tea. It was slightly different from what I had at Lars-sama’s house, but I could tell that it was just as luxurious.

Is this from Azelus or Balmoor? In any case, I feel that they are not treating me roughly.

“Is it that Their Majesties consider me and my real father to be different things?”

I can’t help but ask.

“I don’t think they completely think badly of you, but I don’t think you should be too optimistic.”

It was Kvasir who made the stern comment. For some reason or other, he has a slightly severe way of looking at things.

“I can’t deny that… From what I heard when I talked to the royal chamberlain, it seems like they have the impression that this is part of some big conspiracy. That’s probably because Count Elvasti has such a big influence.”

I had a really bad impression.

I drop my shoulders.

That’s why I’m afraid of talking to the royal family now.

“As I experience things like this, I sometimes wonder if it was really good to hold you back.”

“What?”

I tilt my head at Lars-sama’s words.

“I was anxious about the judgment that you should flee far away. I was worried about the risk of being chased and the fact that you couldn’t realistically live on your own, so I forcibly took you in. But from now on, you will hear heartless words many times, and I am worried that you will be hurt each time.”

Lars-sama, who sat next to the sofa, stares at me intently.

“It’s better for you to move yourself to make allies. But if you break your heart, there’s nothing you can do. Until the time comes, you can quietly spend it in the mansion. What do you want to do?”

“Lars-sama…”

I think Lars-sama was worried about me, who continues to be told heartless things not only at the Academy but also at parties with the nobles.

I shook my head.

“It’s okay. I chose the plan that Lars-sama thought of. I just felt it was better that way. So please don’t feel responsible.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Kvasir peeks in from the side.

“It’s a waste for all that effort to go to waste. Miss Linea looks pretty determined, so you should try running as far as you can.”

“I’m determined?”

I feel that way, but when I’m told directly I can’t put it into words.

Kvasir, who was told that, round their eyes.

“You didn’t think you were determined? It’s quite something.”

“I’m sorry for saying something rude again.”

Lars-sama gives a wry smile.

And just as our feelings were settling down, a third person entered the room.

“I heard cheerful voices. You three seem to get along well.”

“We have been waiting for you, Her Majesty the Queen, His Royal Highness the Prince.”

I and Lars-sama also stand up and bow.

Only two people came. As expected, His Majesty is busy and doesn’t seem to be coming out especially to talk to me. But it’s a relief that one person is less.

“You don’t have to be so formal. I’ll sit down too.”

Her Majesty Segara sits softly on the sofa on the opposite side and has the servant bring tea.

Meanwhile, Prince Conrad stood cautiously, not taking a seat.

“Please sit down, Conrad.”

Despite being beckoned by the queen, Prince Conrad made a disgusted face.

“I still don’t trust that girl.”

“Don’t act like a child. You’re already eighteen. You won’t be able to protect the country if you only express your honest thoughts.”

The queen sighed and said these reprimanding words, but she was a bit rude as well.

It’s as if the queen is saying that she also distrusts me.

I knew that the royal family disliked the Elvasti family, but I was surprised that it was so blatant. I was so surprised that I didn’t even feel shocked.

Then Lars bravely stepped in.

“Both of you are being rude. You’re ignoring my wishes, even though I’ve already approved of them. What kind of decision is that?”

His words were quite strong, and both the queen and Prince Conrad looked away like children being scolded by their parent.

“We understand, Lars. It’s not that we doubt your judgement, but there have been so many things that have happened up until now.”

“That shouldn’t be the daughter’s problem, it should be the father’s problem, right?”

“In this noble society, there is no way to think about the father and daughter separately. Sons and daughters are only pawns in politics.”

“You speak plainly, Your Highness Conrad.”

Smiling at Lars-sama, Conrad His Highness seems to shrink back in fear.

“Isn’t a beautiful appearance necessary? For me, for your Highness.”

“Y-Yes, that’s right.”

Conrad His Highness nods.

“Then please take a seat. To protect the appearance that you are a kind prince.”

“This…”

His Highness Conrad had a hateful expression at Lars-sama’s words, but ultimately sat on the sofa obediently.

Tea was brought in front of His Highness Conrad, who sat next to the queen, and the servant who served left the room.

Chapter 74: Count Allerid Family Secrets

(Uh…)

I am confused. Could it be that, in terms of power relations, Lars-sama is superior to Her Majesty the Queen or His Royal Highness Conrad?

If that’s not the case, there’s no reason for them to take the attitude of a student being scolded by the teacher.

I don’t know the reason, but if both of them respect Lars-sama, they should not treat me disrespectfully. So I feel a little relieved.

However, it’s terrifying to see Prince Conrad’s face right next to me.

After all, he is the person who might lock me up in a cell depending on the situation. And he always faced me with a scary face in my dreams.

That was a dream.

It’s not yet a reality, so I tell myself that it’s okay.

Next to me, Kvasir laughs quietly.

“Isn’t it strange for His Royal Highness Conrad to be scolded by someone younger? Count Elvasti isn’t that scary, is he? You are a prince, after all.”

“I don’t want to be lumped in with you, Kvasir. You are a human who deviates from the rules of human society, so you can be so carefree. Besides, you guys are even helping that Countess. How can you do such a thing?”

“That’s because it’s deviating from the common sense of the world. Before I am the offspring of a noble, I am a magician.”

I think to myself at Kvasir’s meaningful expression.

The position of the Lexander royal family is a necessary tool for a magician’s activities.

Even from this rude attitude, Kvasir probably thinks of himself as a magician first. His foster father probably thinks the same way.

And the Lexander royal family allows them to live as magicians. That’s why they allow this kind of attitude.

Sometimes it’s necessary to borrow the power of magicians, so they don’t want to ruin their mood. In order to be flexible when the time comes.

While thinking about such political things, I tilt my head at Kvasir’s actions.

Maybe he’s protecting me? He might be a little nice.

“Besides, even the royal family overlooks things that are convenient for them, like what Count Elvasti did… and the fall of Count Allerid.”

Allerid?

I blink at the familiar name. That should be the name of Michelia’s family.

Is it true that my real father was definitely involved in her family’s downfall, and that the royal family was silently acknowledging it? Why would they do such a thing?

I remain silent and watch the direction the conversation takes.

The queen made a disgusted face.

“That’s because the Count Allerid family caused problems because they kept demon beasts.”

Demon beasts?!

I managed to avoid shouting out loud. Holding my lips tightly, I was shocked by the truth.

Demon beasts are magical creatures that are twice or three times as tall as humans.

Their appearance can vary, from monkeys, to dogs, to horses, to lizards.

It is not known how demon beasts came into existence. It is said that they were created by magicians during the time when magicians were still involved in the world’s wars.

It is said that demon beasts recently appeared in the Kingdom of Folsian.

It is said that the reason for the annexation of that country by the neighboring kingdom of Leoguard was the outbreak of demon beasts, which caused the kingdom of Forsian to become chaotic and many knights and soldiers to die. It is also whispered that this was a conspiracy of the kingdom of Leoguard.

To think that the Count Allerid family was keeping such demon beasts.

“They said they were calm because they ate a sacred flower that happened to grow in their territory, but we don’t know when it will become a trigger to damage our country’s territory. The Count Allerid family didn’t even report that there were demon beasts.”

The queen sighs again.

“Even though the Count Allerid family has become unable to stand on their own due to debt, we cannot provide them with assistance. As a country, we wanted to hide the fact that there were demon beasts, so we had no choice but to crush them for other reasons.”

It is probably a made-up reason that the Count Allerid family offended the king by trading with other countries.

“Even so, once you’ve used the Count Elvasti family, you can’t just demonize them. At least in private situations like this, if not in public.”

“Yes,” said Her Majesty the Queen in response to Lars-sama’s words.

“But you are quieter than I thought from what I heard in the rumor. I thought you were a person with an arrogant attitude like your father. Count Radin also seems to value you very much.”

Here, Count Radin’s character comes into play. It seems that he is regarded as being greatly valued by those around him because he had elaborate dresses made for his new adoptive daughter, even though he seemed strict at first glance.

Although he’s very sensitive when it comes to children, but that twatty attitude has kept me doubly protected.

I have to write a letter of gratitude again tomorrow. I have been told to come and visit again and again, so I should also visit.

I think of these things gratefully and answer Her Highness.

“Even though I seem to be causing them trouble, Count Radin-sama and Countess are treating me very well.”

I said this in a low voice, almost in a whisper, to appear more obedient and harmless.

Chapter 75: The conversation with the queen seems to be going smoothly

“Oh, are you nervous?”

“Well, I wasn’t used to attending parties very often at my father’s house, so I get nervous thinking about not making any mistakes.”

“But didn’t you have parties at home?”

“Not often.”

Lars-sama follows up on my words.

“The Count doesn’t throw parties for his daughter’s birthdays. Only her coming-of-age year, though, they had a small one.”

Upon hearing this, Her Majesty the Queen seems to remember the rumors about me.

“…Is it true that you don’t have any blood ties?”

“Unfortunately, he is definitely my real father.”

Her Majesty the Queen looks very sorry. Anyone would have a heavy burden with that father.

“It was my maternal uncle who received it (me) directly from my birth mother. So there can be no mistake.”

In this regard, I almost want to ask if my mother loved someone else… because it would be easier to understand if the real father didn’t have any affection for me.

But my mother was said to be a strong woman, so it’s unlikely.

“Is that why you called me here to talk about such a thing?”

Lars-sama asked the Queen suspiciously.

“No, I was interested, but that’s not the main issue. Linea Radin, I just wanted to confirm that you really wanted to become the adoptive child of Count Radin.”

I can understand the Queen’s concern.

After all, Lars-sama also holds the right of succession to the throne. She must have been worried that he might be involved in my father’s conspiracy.

If Lars-sama were involved, it would also affect the royal family.

I’m sure Lars-sama explained this before, but I wonder if there was a lingering doubt that he might have been deceived.

“After all, you don’t live in Count Radin’s mansion, do you? It’s no wonder that there are rumors that Lars is engaged. A young nobleman’s household is supposed to have a lady of marriageable age living there. How did that happen?”

The Queen tried to find out about my relationship with Lars-sama through a roundabout question.

But there isn’t much to hide about this, as long as I skip the story about my skill. I just have to think carefully about what to say.

“Let me answer.”

Lars-sama accepted that question.

“She was in a somewhat difficult position. Although she was coldly treated by her father, she was cursed with something inexplicable since the other day.”

Lars-sama seems to intend to talk about the lie I told my father as if it were true.

“Cursed?”

Her Majesty the Queen cocked her head. His Highness Conrad has a half-doubting expression.

I try to look a little sad to raise my credibility.

“A magician somewhere … probably someone with a grudge against Count Elvasti. She seemed to be worried about not being able to hear other people’s voices from time to time, but when her father found out, he locked her up in a villa like a small commoner’s house instead of letting her go to the Academy.”

“There is no honor to protect.”

His Highness Conrad mutters. He may be starting to believe this story a little.

Kvasir next to me looks like he is enjoying the story, but probably he looks like that no matter what he hears. Her Majesty the Queen doesn’t care about Kvasir at all.

“Even that was enough to be pitiful, but it seems that Count Elvasti, who was concerned about gossip, told her fiancé’s family that the marriage was no longer possible…”

“Were you released from your engagement?”

Her Majesty the Queen looks at me with such pity. If that were the case, it would have been good…

“No, it seems that the house was borrowing money from the Count Elvasti family, and when the engagement talks broke down, they thought they would be forced to pay it back right away, so they forcibly tried to marry her off by kidnapping her.”

Even His Highness Conrad, who had a skeptical attitude towards me, was naturally surprised.

“Did they go that far…?”

“Fortunately, I immediately protected Miss Linea when she escaped, so it didn’t come to anything serious.”

“So you protected Miss Linea and decided to hide her as she was.”

“That’s right.”

Lars-sama nods in response to the Queen’s question.

“Everyone knows that she has no one to rely on because of her father’s actions. I could not abandon Miss Linea like that.”

“You are a kind person… ”

Her Majesty the Queen, who listened to the story, seems to have convinced herself.

However, it seems that His Highness Conrad still cannot completely abandon his doubts.

“Is there a possibility that all of this is your delusion?”

“No, there isn’t. I saw the scene where she was being chased and about to be caught.”

It seemed that Conrad had no choice but to retreat upon hearing this. He falls silent.

“Kvasir, you already have some interaction with this young lady, don’t you? Do you think Lars’s story is true?”

Kvasir smiles slyly when asked.

“Did you see a little bit of her talking with other noble children and young ladies? The trigger may have been made by Lars, but I think it could be felt that they also willingly talked with Miss Linea. Isn’t that proof that she is a person who can be trusted to a certain extent?”

Kvasir…

Even though it wasn’t a clear way of saying it, Kvasir told me that I am a trustworthy person. That made me happy and I felt touched.

I can consider the fact that I was made to eat painful, crunchy sweets in my mouth excessively as not having happened.

“If you and Lars say so, then it must be true.”

The queen finally agrees.

“Miss Linea, I’m sorry for doubting you. I hope there will be blessings for you in the future.”

Saying that, the queen left the room.

Chapter 76: A touched wrist

There is still Prince Conrad, but…

“I am not convinced. No matter what her father is like, his bad reputation should also be due to his own actions.”

He may want to say that you didn’t try to clear up misunderstandings or that your efforts were insufficient, but…

It wasn’t something that could be solved by effort alone.

For sixteen years, I wasn’t completely depressed either. But I wanted to argue back, but I couldn’t confuse the conversation with the prince by saying something like that.

“I’m sorry…”

Lars-sama puts his hand on my shoulder as I apologize and remain silent.

“It’s not your fault. There are many things in the world that can’t be fixed with just effort. People who are blessed tend to think that many things can be achieved with a little effort because they are often achieved that way.”

“Hey…”

Unable to nod at Lars-sama’s words, which seem like he’s starting a fight, Prince Conrad raises his eyebrows as if he’s been made a fool of.

“Are you really angry because it’s the truth? You’re still the same. Should I bring you some sweets to calm down a bit?”

Then, Kvasir says this and Prince Conrad also stands up in a hurry.

“I don’t need it, Kvasir! Don’t send it again.”

With these words, His Royal Highness Conrad quickly leaves the room.

“Thank you, Kvasir. Thank you.”

Kvasir, who was thanked by Lars-sama, slightly raises the corner of his mouth.

“If you were fully suspected by the royal family, it would be heavy to carry alone as expected. Besides, she is also a valuable experimental subject for me. Well then.”

Kvasir stands up too.

“I’ll go first. See you.”

With that, he left the room first.

“It seems that today’s business is finished. Good work, Linea.”

“I apologize for the inconvenience I caused. Lars-sama did most of the explaining… By the way, is His Royal Highness the prince not good at Kvasir?”

From the series of events, it seems that the power relationship between the two is higher on Kvasir’s side.

Lars-sama chuckled.

“His Royal Highness Conrad seems to be struggling with Kvasir and being exploited by Kvasir’s experiments since he has been forced to cooperate whenever something happens. It seems that he has a dislike for him.”

“It’s because of the confections.”

I also felt bothered by Kvasir’s confections, so I felt a little sympathetic towards Prince Conrad.

Still, I was lucky to be honest about my appetite.

Otherwise, I might not have been able to get closer to Lars-sama, and I wouldn’t have had a means to hold back Prince Conrad, who has a grudge against me.

It’s only because Lars-sama is here that Kvasir lends a hand and protects me, no matter how much the prince doubts me.

Confections are amazing!

I was thinking about that until Lars-sama called out to me.

“Did it make you feel better?”

Because of that, I carelessly answer.

“Yes, confections are the best! …Oh!”

After saying that, I realized that I had said something strange, but it’s too late.

Lars-sama raised his voice and laughed at my flustered self.

“Well, that’s not what I meant! I meant to say that it was lucky for me to be able to get this close and talk to Lars-sama like this. The trigger was the sacred flower confections, so I thought confections were wonderful.”

I hurriedly corrected myself.

“Sacred flower confections don’t always bring good luck… but if you think that way, it was worth researching. I hope I can make confections that you will think are even more wonderful.”

Seeing Lars-sama’s expression that was slightly bitter, I suddenly think.

It’s not that he was fascinated by the mystery of the sacred flower and started researching it. It’s possible that Lars-sama’s research on the sacred flower is due to… unfortunate circumstances.

“But I am grateful. No matter what happens, I will never forget this favor. I also want to try to be a little more proactive at this party.”

Thanks to talking with Miss Brenda and Tricia-sama, the queen also took a second look at me. There may also be other nobles who have changed their view of me.

I decided not to reject everything and to make connections, so I can’t always be carried in Lars-sama’s arms.

——I have to walk on my own.

As I was about to step forward in front of Lars-sama, he suddenly grabbed my wrist.

It seemed like an unconscious action for him. He looks at his own hand in surprise.

“I’m sorry. You seem to be about to stumble. You seem to be a little tired.”

The hand is released.

For some reason, I feel lonely as the warmth disappears.

“Don’t worry about it. Come on, let’s go back to the venue.”

I encouraged and started walking again, but.

My heart warmed up a little as I remembered someone who supported me with the hand I was connected to when I was lonely.

Chapter 77: Idle talk – The Hand Reached Out to Albert 1

Albert saw the person he was looking for and tried to approach her quickly.

However, a person from the same group who saw this out of the corner of his eye quickly inserted himself between Albert and the person in question, blocking Albert’s sight.

Furthermore, because the other members start talking loudly, Albert’s voice does not reach her.

(She’s using her friends to make an excuse that she’s not ignoring me. She’s a cowardly woman.)

The only thing that can be seen of the “cowardly woman”, Linea Elvasti, is a part of the back of a young man and her unappealing brown hair peeking out from behind him.

The young man hiding Linea is not the kind of person that Albert can directly speak to.

Duke Lars Svald.

He is one step above Albert, but he has already become the head of the Duke family. He is a royal, with even the right to succeed to the throne, and Albert cannot fight him.

He wondered how Linea managed to get in touch with such a person.

“How did she manage to ingratiate herself…”

When it comes to what Linea can do, that’s all I can think of. At least her appearance is still visible.

But why did Duke approach her, even though anyone should turn their face away just because she is the daughter of the infamous Count Elvasti?

“She did well.”

At that time, a familiar Baroness approached Albert.

Her husband is a friend of his father. It seems that she was invited to a palace party today. She’s a bit of a devil for young men, but Albert doesn’t disrespect her because she often gives her information.

“Perhaps Duke Svald liked her and prepared a background that she is not the daughter of a bad reputation, but rather a good one, in order to engage with her.”

“How did he get involved…”

The Baroness laughs at Albert, who seems to be about to click his tongue.

“Is it a woman’s weapon, or the money of her real father? I think it’s something like that, but the house has a deep relationship with the temple. I can’t believe that such a house would accept an unbecoming daughter. So, you see…”

The Baroness puts her hand to her ear with a mischievous face.

It must be to listen to the voices around.

Albert, who has already heard enough, naturally becomes an unpleasant expression.

Well, since the noble Count Radin took her in as a foster daughter, it might be true that she is a daughter with a beautiful heart, such a story can be heard.

Since Duke Svald is introducing his supporters, you can be sure that he intends to line his own pockets.

Besides, Duke Svald should have been avoiding Count Elvasti. Yet he is helping her, so it may be true that he (her father) was giving her the cold shoulder.

All of them are convenient for Linea.

“The Duke also has an eye for people. That’s why, you know, he wouldn’t go near your father.”

“… I don’t think he’s a particularly nasty person.”

Baroness chuckled at the reaction.

“He’s the kind of person who sticks his face everywhere where he smells money, even before he’s in danger of getting his neck turned by debts. He can’t be clean and pure, can he?”

“Excuse me. I think I’m a little drunk, so I’m gonna go get some air.”

Albert escaped from Baroness with a common excuse, due to his discomfort.

“She’s really rude.”

I don’t think my father is innocent. But he shouldn’t have done anything that would make him as unpopular as to be avoided by Duke.

“It’s all about money. Money is the problem. Originally, it was just that the location of the territory was bad.”

Albert’s father’s debts were initially for the reconstruction of a territory hit by a flood and for flood control.

That was the beginning of the fall.

Just around that time, the copper mine’s vein ran out.

They couldn’t find a new vein, they collected funds for that purpose, but the vein wasn’t found and they no longer had a way to collect more funds.

In any case, they have no choice but to focus on agriculture.

They asked for business expenses, but the industry was not so active. So they had to borrow from somewhere, but they had no one to borrow from because they had asked (borrowed) around everywhere for the vein.

So they had no choice but to rely on Count Elvasti.

In exchange, they accepted an engagement with Linea, his only daughter.

Just around that time, Albert had to accept because his charming fiance’s house, whom he believed he would marry someday, had fallen.

But he had a bad feeling from the beginning.

Because it was just after his engagement had failed, he suspected that Linea wanted to marry Albert and that the Michelia family’s Count Allerid’s house was destroyed by Count Elvasti for that purpose.

Michelia, whom he met again, confirmed that.

“My house was destroyed for Linea, who wanted to marry you,” Michelia said with tears, and Albert deeply sympathized with her and was sorry that she was no longer his fiancée.

The more he sees Michelia, the more he is attracted to her.

She is more polite and cute than the wicked Linea, and above all, she makes Albert feel calm.

But she has become a commoner.

Above all, it is impossible to marry Michelia unless he returns the debt from Count Elvasti.

Albert sighed when he left the party venue and descended to the garden.

Although Linea has become a daughter of another house, it is perfect to cancel the engagement, but his father insists on continuing the engagement for some reason.

Even if she is the daughter of another house, there is no change in the fact that Count Elvasti’s blood flows in her. For the sake of waiting for the repayment of the debt, the continuation of the engagement is absolutely necessary.

Anyway, he was told to get confirmation once, and he was forced to talk to Linea, but he was blocked by Duke Svald.

“What should I do? If she wasn’t there…”

It was when he muttered that.

Chapter 78: Idle talk – The Hand Reached Out to Albert 2

“Would you like some help with love?”

“What?”

Albert noticed that he had not paid any attention to his surroundings at all due to the sudden voice heard nearby.

He looked back, he saw a familiar woman a few dozen steps away.

Duke Augren’s daughter, Elena.

“So, you’re saying you’ll help with love…?”

She was someone who had talked with Albert several times and was always kind to him, so he had thought that she might have some feelings for him.

But their social status was too different.

Besides, he had heard that Duke Augren wanted to marry his daughter Elena to the prince. It was only possible for a noble lady like Elena, who is a member of the royal family, to marry a prince or a princess from another country.

So he thought that she couldn’t possibly like Albert.

But what did she mean by “help with love”?

Elena immediately answered Albert’s question.

“Michelia, a woman who works under the Academy. I heard that she used to be a noble lady. Don’t you want to be with her, Albert-sama? She is well-known, I have seen you two very close in the Academy many times.”

“Yes… I mean…”

It was something he had done as an insult for Linea, but when he was told this by someone else again, it was a bit embarrassing.

Elena laughed as if she could see through his thoughts.

“Don’t worry about it, many noblemen surround themselves with women from the time of their engagement.”

“Uh, the…disgrace…”

Albert stuttered, unable to say anything else.

Even if it is permissible, it would be rude to nod openly to someone who fits the position of legal wife.

Religiously, monogamy is the basic principle in this country. Concubines and mistresses are not originally accepted.

However, in the case of the nobility, they are tolerated for the sake of an heir in case of succession, and it is one way for poor commoners to survive for the wealthy to have mistresses.

Above all, temples that receive a certain amount of donations from such people are tolerated.

Of course, the primary wives will hate them.

Sometimes it is because their position may be threatened. It is common for the primary wife to be falsely accused to make the mistress the primary wife.

“It’s sad that men can’t have the person they love by their side.”

Without answering Albert’s apology, Elena said this.

“So I thought I might help you out.”

“Wh-what do you mean?”

“Was it Linea Radin, I wonder? I’ll make her disappear.”

Albert gasped sharply.

Elena certainly said [erase].

If that’s the case, then how good it would be for Albert. He’s dreamed of it countless times. But he can’t do that in reality.

“Duke Svald finds out…”

What would happen? It would be better if only his house was destroyed.

“”That person” is also being deceived. Otherwise, there is no way that person would be interested in an always gloomy, dark woman.”

What Elena said always made sense.

A woman with no charm. On the contrary, if she were by his side, she would become a disgrace. Despite being a nuisance, he can’t think of a single reason why he would go out of his way to protect her. It must be because Count Elvasti secretly used some medicine to forcibly entangle her.

That’s why Duke Lars Svald is a very pitiful person.

Albert, who doesn’t know about Linea’s skill, honestly thinks so.

“But if you say disappear…”

“I will.”

Elena places a hand on her chest. It seems that the Duke Augren family will take care of it.

But naturally indecisive Albert couldn’t make a decision. He was afraid to make the decision to kill.

Into Albert’s ears, Elena pours sweet poison.

“If she goes away, you don’t have to be engaged anymore. After that, it’s okay to be with me. Your precious Michelia? You can keep her, can’t you?”

“Marriage with Elena-sama? But…”

“It’s okay. We can make any difference in social status. I want to escape from an unwanted marriage. I really want to escape from that prince…there are also rumors that he is a brute, and he has a harsh manner, so if I were to be with him, I would cry many times. I don’t want that.”

Elena looks sad and hugs her own shoulders.

Certainly, Prince Conrad is said to have problems with his words and actions. Since the royal family does not attend the Academy, he has not had close contact with him, but he has heard that he speaks in a haughty manner and that he’ll immediately reprimand you if you go against his wishes.

It is not surprising that she wants to marry someone else to avoid that.

He also knows that his own married life will not be very enjoyable, so he doesn’t want to marry Linea.

(Besides…if it’s the Duke Augren family, they can keep Duke Svald in check.)

At the same time, it’s not necessary to completely give up on Michelia.

Albert nods to Elena.

“If Elena-sama says so…I understand.”

Elena gave a big smile.

“I’m glad, Albert-sama. In that case, please leave the matter to me. If you cooperate just once, I will definitely fulfill my role.”

At those words, Albert felt relieved.

Chapter 79: Idle talk — Elena’s plan

“Linea is really a foolish person. Even after getting married, if she just damages or gets rid of the face of a commoner enough to lose the man’s interest, it would be fine.”

A true noble lady never shows anger towards his man’s mistress directly. There are plenty of ways to dispose of them.

And a husband who surrounds himself with mistresses is only someone who can be made to listen to what she says.

Many ladies take advantage of it and live surrounded by jewelry as much as they want.

But if the husband cannot get tired of the mistress, it is enough to dispose of the mistress secretly.

After leaving the party venue, Elena leaves the palace.

As usual, Dior was waiting in front of the place she had prepared.

Elena extends her hand.

“I’m going to the Academy. We’re gonna have that talk later today, right?”

Elena asked Dior, who was escorting her to the carriage.

“Yes, my lady.”

“We have to move on to the next stage.”

Elena heads to the Academy.

The Academy is a bit far away because it used to be a detached palace. But that’s okay. The servants’ nights are late. It’s better to talk quietly in the middle of the night.

Entering the Academy.

You could tell the guards that you’d left something behind, for it would be dishonorable to leave anything behind. But Dior had given him money to keep his mouth shut.

Elena lets Dior her and advances deep into the Academy.

After bypassing the large building and going a little distance from the well used by the servants, they arrived in the garden, which was normally only accessible to the nobility. Michelia, the daughter who had fallen from the nobility, was there in a place where the roses had finished blooming. Perhaps she had some degree of thinking ability that helped her avoid danger, even as a servant.

They were sitting side by side on a small lawn in the middle of a rose hedge, where the roses had finished blooming.

One is Michelia, the daughter of a fallen nobleman, whom Albert is obsessed with, an eyesore to Elena.

Although her golden hair stood out, Elena’s hair color was also beautiful platinum. It was well-maintained and lustrous, and should have attracted attention.

Or was it perhaps the issue of her facial features?

Did that weak, powerless appearance actually need to be necessary?

Every time Elena saw Michelia, she felt a bitter feeling.

The other was Ralles, Elena’s servant. He was a young man with dark golden hair. He was given to her by one of her followers, and she had heard that he was from a small merchant family, but his sharp eyes made him easy to use.

Above all, the young man had a beautiful face and was very skilled at rubbing Elena’s feet (currying favor?).

It’s a shame that my things are being used to please other people, but in this case it’s a necessary part of the plan.

The two were having a fun conversation, but Ralles, who noticed their presence, turned and looked at Elena.

Elena nods at him and begins the conversation she had planned.

“…I’m sorry, Michelia-san. There is something I must apologize to you for.”

“What is it?”

Michelia tilts her head curiously.

“Actually… My Master pursued me about meeting with you…”

“Were you reprimanded?”

Michelia looks sympathetic.

What does she think of me? Elena feels disgusted.

Ralles shook his head.

“She was very sympathetic when she heard about you being forced to work by your colleagues. And also about Count Elvasti’s daughter. It seems that the master also had a strong feeling of disgust, so she felt sympathetic.”

Elena wants to laugh through her nose. It is impossible for a noble to feel sympathy for a commoner. It was said to be necessary to relax her guard, but it is still unpleasant.

“That’s because everything is for the sake of achieving a common goal.”

I mutter to lift my own feelings.

“I see, Duke Augren’s daughter…”

Michelia seems to have believed Ralles’s words.

Knowing this, Elena appears on purpose, making a loud noise with her footsteps.

Michelia, startled and turning around, stood up with wide eyes. It seems that the manners of a commoner are ingrained to the bone.

Elena felt better about this and was able to make her voice more gentle than she thought she could.

“I’m sorry for listening to your conversation. But I thought that it would be dangerous for you to continue facing the daughter of that evil Count’s family in your position…I came to talk to you when I had the time, thinking that I might be able to help.”

“Help? Why would a Duke’s daughter do that?”

But Michelia has a slightly wary expression.

But it’s okay. Elena thinks so. As long as she ends up moving the way I want her to, that’s fine.

“I also don’t like Count Elvasti’s daughter. Even when I met her at the Academy, her attitude of always looking down on people, and the way she doesn’t feel any pain even when she traps people, always scared me.”

Michelia’s expression turns to one of understanding as she says these words mixed with a little bit of honesty.

Honestly, it’s not horrible, but it’s annoying that she doesn’t react to Elena, Duke’s daughter, when she should be more humble.

Above all, she can’t forgive her for taking Albert away.

It’s the same with this woman in front of her. Elena sees Michelia as a flying insect around Albert and doesn’t think of treating her as an equal because she can only be a mistress.

“The reason I thought of speaking to you is that if you are ready, I will teach you a way to keep that woman away forever.”

“Forever…?”

Michelia initially had a confused expression, but after a few seconds, she opened her eyes as if she understood something.

“No way, to kill…”

“I can’t say it clearly here. Michelia Allerid.”

Elena stops Michelia’s words.

Michelia looks around, but Elena is not cautious that someone might be listening in.

If Elena says ‘kill’ clearly, someone might think Michelia was swayed by Elena when it was revealed.

But if she didn’t say it clearly, they can say that Michelia was mistaken.

Elena secretly laughs at Michelia, who is not thinking about such things.

“If you do it, I’ll speak well of you and you can become a foster child of some house.”

“Ehh…”

What Michelia wants most now is this. If she can return to being a noble lady, it is also possible to marry Albert as his legitimate wife.

And at the same time, she wants to eliminate the hated Linea.

According to Ralles, Elena seems to wish to marry someone other than Albert and leave the capital.

That way, even if she can’t marry Albert, she won’t have to see the hated Linea anymore.

Two wishes will be granted at once.

Above all, Michelia is anxious that Albert is not thinking about her.

Anxiety can mislead judgement. And Michelia does not know that Elena wants Albert.

(Come on, take my hand.)

She looks at Ralles and gives her another push.

“Once you know how Elena-sama is planning to deal with Count Herkuvis, you can hold his secret. You may be able to easily persuade Count Herkuvis, who may be opposed to the marriage, if you know a family secret that even the Count’s son does not know.”

“Eh…”

“But it is a truly important secret, so I cannot reveal it casually. You must nod to this plan.”

There should be enough bait.

All I have to do is wait. For the prey to be caught.

And a few seconds later, Michelia nodded.

Elena smiled and said to Michelia.

“It’s okay. All I want you to do is guide Linea there.”

Michelia probably thought it would be easy and brightened up her expression.

Chapter 80: A Painting and Suspicious Visitor

One week after that party, I was attending a tea party with Lars-sama at the Grand Marquis.

The Grand Marquis is the person I met at the royal party.

He spoke to me in a curious way, and to my surprise, we got along.

The Grand Marquis seems to be someone who likes sacred flower confections.

As a result, he seems to be collecting pictures of sacred flowers.

When I heard that we would have a tea party in a room decorated with many pictures of sacred flowers and said that I would definitely like to attend, an invitation arrived immediately.

“I’m really happy to see so many pictures of sacred flowers.”

Lars-sama had a look of excitement even before departure. Whatever the trigger for research, he seems to love sacred flowers.

Inspired by research motivation, he seemed to want to take paper and sketch.

Why don’t you borrow it later?

Suggested by the servant Marc,

“Yes, let’s do that.”

I guess he convinced him to take it with him.

I was a little relieved because I was wondering if it would be okay to keep sketching during the tea party.

The old Grand Marquis family mansion is located in a place close to the royal palace in the capital.

Although the grounds are not particularly large, the brick mansion, which has aged and has a taste, is as large as the Duke Svald house.

When we were shown to the living room, Lars-sama’s eyes shone.

It was also my first time seeing many sacred flower paintings, and I was allowed to appreciate each one as recommended.

“This is amazing. There seem to be sacred flowers I have never seen before.”

Upon being told this by Lars-sama, the middle-aged, thin-bodied Grand Marquis also explained with great excitement.

“Since I am not physically strong, I can’t go see them myself. So I have physically fit painters go and see them and buy the paintings they draw.”

He’s a bit of a strange patron of painters. But it’s similar to calling in painters to paint portraits, except the places they go are harsh.

“Certainly, these can only be painted by physically fit painters.”

I can’t help but mutter.

In front of me is a picture of a flower garden of sacred flowers blooming on a cliff.

It must be difficult to get to the place where this cliff is. From the surrounding scenery, it looks like it is deep in the mountains.

While I was looking around for a while, the other participants came.

Even so, there were only ten people in total. Since it was a small tea party, I was able to participate without getting too nervous.

Even if the conversation didn’t last long, I could get by just looking at the picture.

The picture of the sacred flowers was interesting to begin with, and time passed quickly just talking about it.

Since it was a tea party, I did drink tea, but the picture left a deeper impression than the tea.

I was able to leave the party feeling happy after being told by several people that we should meet again.

“Then, let’s hold an appreciation party at a suitable time.”

With these words from the Grand Marquis, the tea party today ended.

That was when everyone was trying to leave.

The middle-aged steward had a very difficult expression and was whispering something to the Grand Marquis. I wonder if there was a problem.

The Grand Marquis, who had heard the story, came to us.

His gaze was directed at Lars-sama, so it seems he has something to do with him.

“I’m sorry, Duke Svald. It seems that we have an uninvited guest who has come to talk to you. He was just waiting outside the gate.”

The household butler of the Grand Marquis family thought it was strange that a noble’s carriage was parked confidently outside the gate, and asked the servant about the situation.

Then the servant who was following the carriage told him that his master was waiting to meet Duke Svald.

“Who is this guest?”

“It seems to be Albert, the offspring of Count Herkuvis.”

Upon hearing the name, I couldn’t help but frown.

The memory is fresh in my mind of the trouble he has caused me. A man with whom I have a history is trying to contact Lars-sama without writing to him or visiting him in person.

I wonder if he has come to say something strange.

Although I am cautious, it is true that he is not doing anything unreasonable as the Grand Marquis says.

It is possible that he saw the carriage by chance and just wanted to talk for a little while.

Lars-sama considered for a while and then answered.

“… Let’s have a little talk. He said he had something to tell me?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

Lars-sama turned to me.

“Miss Linea, please go home first.”

“If it’s about me, I’d say no.”

I said that because I didn’t want to be a nuisance, and Lars-sama stroked my head and smiled.

“Don’t worry. I swore to protect you, so this is my job.”

Since I can’t oppose it if I’m refused, I at least ask.

“Then, please listen to the conversation with Asher-sama. Just in case.”

Considering the behavior of Count Herkuvis the other day, there is a possibility that he could secretly harm Lars-sama.

“To put your mind at ease, I’ll do that…although I’m a little worried about sending you home with just Marc…”

I think there’s no problem.

After all, no one can touch me. Depending on the case, Marc might be more dangerous. If that happens, you should ask Marc to leave my side to call for backup.

Thinking about such things, I said with a bright expression.

“It’s okay. I’m quite stubborn.”

“There’s no choice then.”

Lars-sama seems to be convinced, and the conversation continues.

It was then that I finally noticed that Grand Marquis was looking at us with slightly flushed cheeks.

Oh, is it because Lars-sama stroked my head?

From now on, I’ll have to ask Lars-sama not to do things like that in public.

Chapter 81: It’s not right to overlook the abduction…

I was supposed to ride Lars-sama’s carriage home.

After talking to Albert, Lars-sama will borrow the Grand Marquis’s carriage and go home.

The Duke’s mansion is not far away.

As I was lost in thought, recalling the painting of the sacred flowers, I suddenly saw something strange.

That’s the Academy’s servant’s uniform.

With golden hair, isn’t that Michelia?

She is having a scuffle around the corner.

Her opponent is multiple men. There is a carriage nearby, the door is open, and the man inside is waving at the man near Michelia.

Is she being taken away?

“…Please stop it.”

It took a few seconds to think.

The carriage stopped and Marc opened the door a little to check.

“What’s wrong? Are you feeling…?”

“I’m sorry. I just saw someone who seems to be being taken away. I know the person.”

This person is not a good person for me. She’s the kind of guy you wish would go away.

But even so, I couldn’t just ignore and leave someone suffering from a crime in front of me.

Above all, I have a skill.

“I want you to help me, but I’ll go with you just in case.”

It is easier to grasp the other party’s situation and deal with it when they are nearby rather than far away in case something happens.

Marc seemed to hesitate a little, but finally nodded.

I got off the carriage and headed towards Michelia, whom I had just seen with Marc.

I could hear her voice immediately because the carriage was nearby.

“Somebody help me! No, don’t touch me!”

When I got to the place where I could see her, she was about to be pushed into a nearby carriage.

Marc approached and called out in a calm voice.

“Miss, come over here.”

“Huh.”

Michelia was slow to react because she didn’t know Marc.

But in the meantime, she was grabbed by the man next to her and dragged away.

Marc had no choice but to knock out the man holding Michelia in an instant.

Michelia, who was freed, sat down on the spot.

The men naturally attack Marc.

Marc is stronger than I thought and can’t bring him down, but it seems difficult to move while protecting Michelia.

I think.

This skill cannot be used with others as the starting point. The starting point is me.

“Make sure the three people furthest from me in my field of vision don’t approach us.”

When I mutter this, the man in the other party’s carriage and the two people near him seem to try to approach Marc, but they seem to be blocked by a wall.

Meanwhile, Marc knocks down the men nearby and leads Michelia away.

“If you want to run away, stand up.”

“Y-Yes.”

When Michelia stood up, bewildered, the men who were about to take her away were pushed back.

Since there was no dialogue or anything, I don’t know what the purpose was. It would be better to ask Michelia.

“My Lady.”

Marc brings Michelia over to me, who was a little away.

“Linea Elvasti…”

Michelia’s expression becomes fierce. Or rather, I’m not Elvasti anymore… I think.

“Those men might come back. If you want to ensure safety, I’ll let you ride in the carriage together.”

It’s no good if we keep getting hung up on Michelia’s actions. I tell her this and ask Marc to bring the carriage closer.

“If you don’t want to go, then you can go home alone.”

I don’t know where she was planning to go, and I don’t know if she was planning to return to the Academy.

In any case, I helped once. After that, it’s up to Michelia to decide whether to choose a dangerous path or to endure and stay with me.

Even I, of course, don’t feel like forcing someone to help against their will.

Michelia seemed to be struggling. She was silent and hanging her head.

And then, at that moment.

The neighing of a horse, the panicked voice of a messenger.

When I turned around, the horse was running wild and the messenger was frantically getting off the carriage.

Marc and I were also distracted by that.

A pungent smell spreads.

Suddenly, my limbs go numb and I can only crouch down on the spot. Michelia is the same.

“Wh-Why?! Why me too?!”

Michelia also seemed unexpected and was looking around in confusion. But before long, she fell asleep as if she had run out of strength.

I realized that it was some kind of drug when my numbness started to wear off.

I didn’t know if my skill would activate with rough instructions, but I try to keep the drug from touching me.

It didn’t work well and I didn’t fall asleep, but I was numb from the amount I had inhaled and couldn’t move.

Turning my head, I looked at Marc who was in a distant place.

If I gave instructions with words, the enemy nearby would surely be aware of my movements.

So I moved my fingertips to give instructions and hoped that Marc would move away from here.

Marc’s feet move as if they are being pushed.

It looks like the skill has been activated and he is being pushed. He is not approaching me.

Thanks to this, Marc seems to have understood my true intentions.

He quickly leaves the place. I was relieved when his figure disappeared and pretended to fall asleep like Michelia after a little thought.

Chapter 82: The kidnapping drama is meant to be…

There’s no way out of this, and I don’t want them to know about my skill.

I’d like to find out who did this anyway.

To achieve the two goals, I close my eyes.

Someone approaches. I can hear footsteps.

“As planned. Take both of them.”

Together with a responding voice, I was placed on something like a cloth stretcher and thrown onto a hard wood surface. I wanted to cry out when I was touched because my limbs were numb, but somehow I endured it.

I heard another sound, so Michelia must have been moved in the same way.

Soon after, the thing I was riding on started to shake and sway, so I think it must be a carriage.

I wonder where we are being taken…

Even if I open my eyes slightly to check, I can’t see anything because I am wrapped in cloth.

If someone is close by, the moment I open the cloth they will know that I am not sleeping. It is not good to fall into that situation with a numb body.

Above all, I don’t want the people who kidnapped me to know about my skill, which is my last trump card.

However, I will try to activate my skill to prevent being killed immediately and to keep anything from touching me within a distance of about the tips of my fingers, as a precaution.

Hmm, I feel like my body is floating a bit.

Apparently, the carriage has also become a refusal target, and my body is floating. As a result, I can avoid being hit by the creaking of the wood every time the boards vibrate. An unexpected byproduct.

It took a very long time until the carriage finally stopped.

I was almost about to fall asleep.

“Wake her up.”

Hmm…? That voice sounds very familiar.

Could it be Miss Elena?

“Don’t you have any medicine to wake her up? There should be, right? I thought I said I wanted to kill her slowly and with terror.”

This high-handed way of speaking, the unreasonable content of the words, all of them are characteristic of Miss Elena.

“Please wait a moment. It may not have an immediate effect, but…”

After those words, I was taken out of the carriage. I stayed in a very thin Block Skill to deny contact, but they didn’t seem to notice.

Then, suddenly, a strong smell similar to cinnamon tickles my nose.

It’s supposed to wake me up, so it can’t be a bad medicine. Rather, it might be a detoxification medicine.

I sniff it gently, thinking I’ll block it immediately if it’s dangerous.

Ah, I did it. My numbness has also improved. It looks like it was a detoxification medicine after all.

“Ugh…”

A moan sounded next to me. Michelia also seemed to have awakened.

I also have to pretend to wake up.

First, I open my eyes slightly.

The cloth covering me is removed and I can see trees with lush green leaves. Actually, no matter where I move my gaze, it’s just trees.

Is this a forest?

Near me and Michelia are two young men wearing matching green jackets. The figures of the men who tried to kidnap Michelia are also there.

Michelia wakes up before me and stands up, screaming.

“Elena-sama, why!”

Oh, the owner of that voice was Miss Elena after all.

“I was told I was only supposed to lure her! Did you trick me?!”

“It’s inconvenient to be accused of making a pretense. The invitation was only to lure her, right? It was also I who arranged for you to be unconscious and brought here.”

“I wasn’t told that I would be involved too! I want to go home.”

Michelia stands up unsteadily, but is immediately held by one of the kidnappers with her arms crossed behind her.

“No, let me go!”

Miss Elena laughs at Michelia’s appearance.

“Well, I just forgot to tell you that you would be disposed of together.”

“Why…”

“I can’t just leave the moth always clinging to Albert-sama’s side, can I?”

From what I heard, Michelia seems to have been deceived into carrying out one half of a plot to kill me.

It seems that Elena wanted to dispose of me together.

If Miss Elena wants to monopolize Albert, it’s natural for her to think that way. It’s very annoying, though.

But then, Miss Elena said something outrageous.

“There’s just one condition, if you meet it, I’ll overlook you… Kill Linea over there.”

“Wha—.”

I stood up in a hurry.

At almost the same time, Miss Elena’s servant threw a short sword at Michelia.

Michelia, looking at the short sword that had fallen at her feet, looked at me and then slowly picked up the short sword.

Michelia seems to be motivated.

Elena has a full smile on her face.

“If you can do it, I’ll give you one more reward. I’ll keep the fact that you killed Linea a secret between us. If you keep quiet, Albert-sama might still care for you without knowing that you did such a terrible thing. If you’re inconspicuous and don’t make a fuss, I’ll overlook it as much as being a mistress.”

Michelia unsheathed the short sword.

She looks up at me as I stand up.

Chapter 83: A part of the truth of past events

…You like him so much.

To the point of dirtying your own hands.

Knowing that, I feel strangely refreshed.

If she really loves him, I can understand her actions.

Until now, I thought that she was clinging to Albert because she had lost her position as a noble and there was no other way for her to regain a noble-like lifestyle.

But if she really likes Albert, I want to tell her that I don’t think much of him at all.

Although I am hated for what my real father did, it is not my fault for Albert.

Thinking, when Michelia took a step forward, I said,

“Is it okay to be a mistress?”

Michelia has an expression that says “What are you saying?”.

“Albert is looking at you kindly. He doesn’t want to give up his position as a noble either. He doesn’t want his house to fall either. So even if I’m not here, he will probably marry another noble lady who will help the house. It won’t be you…he might like you, but he’s not thinking about marriage. He’s such a sly person.”

“That’s…that’s!”

“I think you know. That’s not what you really want. As long as you have those desires, you’re going to continue to resent the people that Albert is engaged to and the people that he’s married to. I think you should confront Albert about it and see what you two can do about it. If you love each other.”

To be honest, Albert is a loser.

He has no determination to defy his father’s words, and he doesn’t want to give up a noble’s life.

Worst of all, he has no intention of trying to persuade his father to make Michelia a foster daughter of some noble and marry her. He doesn’t try to win anything by working hard.

A person with a weak position, disliked by everyone, can be strong, but he cannot openly say his own wishes to others.

“It’s better to talk to Albert. There should be a house that wants a daughter who can help with the household and has money. Even a house of upstarts with money will do. If you become a foster daughter there, marriage shouldn’t be a dream.”

“Uh…”

Michelia looks at me with a blank face. The tip of the short sword pointed at me drops.

“Why… why are you saying something like that, backing me up?”

Michelia seemed surprised at my statement, which seriously considered our relationship.

So I explained it clearly.

“I hate that person, so I just want you to take him back quickly.”

However, Michelia seems to be confused about this situation.

“But … How do I escape?”

There are ways, but what to do.

Even if I don’t hold a grudge against her, I don’t want to teach Michelia my skill after all.

While thinking about how to hide it, Miss Elena, who was watching us from a little further away, started trembling.

“Linea Elvasti…”

My name is called in a voice that crawls on the ground.

“Always always in the way. Even though the Duke Augren house also excluded the Count Allerid house in the same way. Why did you get Albert-sama and I couldn’t? I, the Duke’s daughter, should have been prioritized!”

Miss Elena’s statement contained unexpected facts.

——Huh?

Is this really possible?

Is it true that not only my father’s house was involved in ruining Michelia’s house, but also Miss Elena’s house for some reason?

Suddenly, I had an idea.

——To make them invade.

Even if he had grasped the weaknesses of various houses and ensnared them to increase his assets, he shouldn’t be able to guide an invasion. After all, despite being called the Count House, the House of Count Elvasti only had territory the size of a cat’s head.

This was because, during the previous generation, a lot of debt was accumulated, and most of the territory was sold off.

Above all, the House of Count Elvasti was too unpopular.

Those who hold grudges would try to find any opportunity to attack, and attack as soon as they see it.

If I were to advance plans for invasion or communicate with a neighboring country, it would likely be exposed soon.

But that isn’t supposed to happen.

If my dream of the future had come true, my father would be alive and well.

If I think about the reasons, it’s natural to consider that there were collaborators.

Duke Augren’s family could use it as a cover.

And from what I’ve seen of Miss Elena, even her father Duke seems to think he’s pretty much the best, and might be annoyed that he doesn’t have a higher claim to the throne than Lars-sama.

There are various motivations that come to mind.

On the other hand, I also think that my real father might have considered using this.

If he can get them to cooperate by riding on a well-planned strategy, it would be best to crush the Duke Augren family while they are in the midst of invasion. I’m sure my father could do it.

I can’t imagine what method he would use.

Count Elvasti, who is the best in the world at thinking of such wicked things, must not have any substandard work.

Miss Elena points her finger at me, who is surprised to have found a new truth.

“That’s enough. Use that medicine again. Make her an easy prey.”

A servant with gold hair, with a dark expression, scatters some powder.

“Hold your breath!”

I said to Michelia while protecting myself with a Block Skill.

Chapter 84: And then it appeared

Despite her confused expression, Michelia pressed her lips together and sat down for a while.

But she’s not collapsed. I think she just took a deep breath and got a little numb.

I also sat down and pretended to be the same.

At that moment, Elena laughed loudly at Michelia and me.

Then, a strange sound was heard.

It sounds like a very heavy object is being dragged.

At the same time, the surroundings suddenly became cold.

The ground around them also looked white, as if it had been sprinkled with powdered sugar. It looks like frost is falling and the green leaves of the trees are somehow white.

Such a thing cannot be done unless it is magic or a skill.

—Goaaah.

Eventually, a low beast-like groan was heard and the owner of the voice appeared behind Elena.

“…A snake?”

The raised head is out of the tree. Every time it moves sluggishly, it makes the same sound as the ground just heard.

“Hiih…”

Michelia was speechless with her eyes wide open.

I feel my face crumpling.

This is…a demon beast.

A creature that uses powers like magic and is not ordinary.

But why is it so close to the capital city?

The answer is that Elena, who was pleased that her wish had come true, told Michelia.

“Don’t worry. I’ll tell Albert-sama that you were eaten by this demon beast. After all, it was Albert-sama’s father who hid it here. And if I reveal that I know the secret, he’ll be obedient enough to lick my shoes.”

“Ah…”

The story I heard at the palace is connected here.

Michelia’s father was hiding and raising demon beasts.

Count Herkuvis knew about it and approached him to take it in, and engaged Albert and Michelia.

But the Count Allerid family was about to be destroyed, so Count Herkuvis captured the demon beasts.

Could it be that his father approached the unpopular Count Elvasti for a loan because he sensed that he also knew about it?

Is that why Count Elvasti lent him money and Count Herkuvis is still not crushed?

But maybe Count Herkuvis also demanded the engagement because he was afraid of being abandoned someday.

But before I think about that, I’ve got to do something about that!

While I was trying to think of a way to escape without letting as many people know about my skill, Elena said to Michelia, “But it was originally your father who raised demon beasts, wasn’t it? Pretending to be virtuous and raising demon beasts, what were you trying to do?”

“No, no. Father didn’t raise any demon beasts!”

“Unfortunately, that’s the truth. But it’s ironic that his daughter became the bait, isn’t it?”

As Elena tried to leave, she turned and ordered the two servants.

“Ah, leave some evidence that Linea and that commoner girl are dead. A finger or something is fine. If they’re completely eaten, Albert-sama won’t believe that they’re dead. After that, when the time comes, I’ll send you back deep into the woods, and you guys go ahead and escape.”

Laughing, Elena gets on the carriage nearby and leaves.

The other men who were following her, unlike Miss Elena, were afraid of being attacked at any moment and chased after the carriage at an incredible speed.

What was left behind were me, Michelia, who was shaking and couldn’t move, and two of Elena’s servants.

These servants must know some way to avoid being attacked by some kind of demon beast. If not, Miss Elena would not have ordered such a thing.

Probably, Michelia’s father was able to keep them because he knew this method, and Albert’s father should also be using it to move the demon beasts here.

I think if I knew that method… but I don’t think the blond servant with a dead expression or the black-haired servant who quickly took out a knife to try to follow Miss Elena’s instructions would answer even if I asked normally.

While I was thinking about what to do, the black-haired servant quickly aimed at us.

“… Wall.”

I imagine a large wall covering my surroundings.

The black-haired servant hits an invisible wall and falls spectacularly on the spot. The knife is also dropped, and looks at in disbelief.

The blond servant and Michelia also have their eyes wide open.

It was a necessary choice to protect myself, but I feel like sighing.

After this, I have to think about how to shut up these three before Miss Elena finds out…

“Oh… um.”

While I was feeling dizzy, the demon beast snake had finally approached us closely.

The servants seemed to think that this was the end, and quickly left us.

The snake does not pursue the servants, but approaches me and Michelia.

It took a deep breath and blew on a white breath of ice.

Michelia is paralyzed and can’t move.

“Block!”

I activate the skill to avoid the ice breath while advancing towards the snake. As a result, only an area of about five meters radius centered on me remained the color of earth, and the surrounding area became a fantastic landscape with ice crystals.

Chapter 85: Her choice in a crisis

The only ones who didn’t freeze were me and Michelia, who was nearby.

“If it hit us directly, we’d be dead, right…”

If it was going to freeze us in the first place, there seems to be no need to leave evidence that I or Michelia had died… oh, no. I’m sure the snake would try to eat us.

I continue to “block” the snake.

The snake is about two of my heights long and is angrily biting the air. Maybe it’s because the prey in front of it can’t be eaten.

“Skill… why.”

Finally, it seems that Michelia, who had regained her sanity, muttered.

If you see this, it will immediately become clear that it is a skill.

But it looks like she is talking to herself, so I don’t have to answer. In fact, I have something I want to ask.

“What do you want to do?”

“Huh?”

Michelia cocked her head.

“If things stay like this, you’ll die and Albert will become Miss Elena’s.”

“N-No way! I hate that!”

Michelia’s lips quiver. She answered immediately, so this must be her true feelings.

“In order to survive, I must borrow your hand. In that case, unless you make a pledge to keep your mouth shut about this skill, I cannot help you.”

This is the minimum requirement.

If using me, whom you have hated until now, to survive is all you care about, she would do it without hesitation.

Michelia, who has used dirty tricks many times in the past to demean me, would do so calmly.

But I don’t want to allow it.

For the sake of my future, I need her to keep quiet about my skill.

Michelia looks at me with a disapproving face and shifts her gaze to the snake that is about to attack us from a higher place.

Then she turns around and looks at the servants of Miss Elena, who are far away.

You can’t run away.

Soon the demon beast attacks.

Even if you narrowly escape, you will be killed by Miss Elena’s servants.

Michelia only has two choices.

She probably understands this well herself. She doesn’t want to cling to me, but if she wants to live, she has no choice but to cling to me.

In the end, Michelia made a surprisingly quick decision.

“I’ll do as you say. It’s okay if it’s old-fashioned?”

When I nod, Michelia kneels in front of me with a look of holding something back.

“I bring you the breath of the gods and their messengers. O ye demons and rulers of the dark realms… Hear my voice and remember. I will continue to protect the secret that your daughter Linea wishes in front of me.”

With these words, Michelia bit the edge of her mouth and let the blood flow, and applied the blood to her fingertips, drawing a circle and cross on the ground.

This is a very old way of making a vow, still practiced among the nobility. It is probably only done by temple priests.

It was done in the days when magic was still prevalent in the world.

It is said that the remnants of magic are still contained in this atmosphere and become sacred flowers. Therefore, it was said that strange things would happen if the vow was broken.

All the nobles believe this legend. Michelia should be the same.

If she doesn’t want to be plagued by misfortunes or illness after surviving, she will keep her promise.

…well, the problem is those two servants.

“I wonder how I can silence those two…”

As I was worried, I heard a voice from somewhere.

“No problem!”

I know that cheerful voice very well.

“What?”

I look around.

Although no one seems to be around, where is it from?

Soon after, smoke rises from behind.

“Whoa!”

I stepped forward in surprise, and the wall made by Block Skill also moved, and the snake looked annoyed as it was pushed. If only it would go somewhere else, it looks like it’s trying to bite an invisible wall without giving up.

And the white smoke that blew up stopped with a sound like hitting metal, Kin.

Instead, Kvasir was standing there without me noticing.

“K-Kvasir…?”

“That’s right, it’s me.”

Kvasir raised his hand and pointed to the sky with his fingertips.

“Why?”

“I’ve had marked you, Linea-sama…as soon as I heard from Marc that you’d been kidnapped, I flew here as soon as possible.”

“Flying…”

I think it’s probably magic.

As if to prove it, Kvasir took out a bouquet that looked like glass from his pocket.

“Is that really?”

“They’re all sacred flowers. My patron said I could use them. I’m going to make a big deal out of it today!”

Saying something cheerful like a street vendor in the city, Kvasir took out one from the inside and held it up in the air.

“Come, messenger of the sun. Spirit of the flames.”

Saying this with a theatrical gesture, he points the flowers at the snake.

Suddenly, the snake is wrapped in a pillar of flames.

The swirling pillar of flames turns the snake inside into agony in an instant.

…Somehow, it smells like chicken is being grilled. When I think that it used to be a demon beast, I feel a strange feeling.

It burns out quickly and the demon beast that was the snake turns into a mountain of black charcoal.

“This is magic…”

I saw magic used to attack something for the first time, but its power is incredible. I can understand if it is used in war, it could overturn the battlefield.

“Hey, I didn’t think you were in any danger, but I came to help, Linea-sama.”

The person who used the terrible magic says that in a very light tone.

Chapter 86: The Conflict of the Servants

“I’m happy you came, but how did you find this place? Was it a mark?”

“The roses on your hair. One of them is a sacred flower.”

“What?!”

You mean I was wearing such a valuable thing as a hair accessory? That’s like the extravagance of an old queen!

I was surprised and put my hand on my hair, but Kvasir tells me with a straight face, “It’s already gone.”

“I used it to move here with magic when I found you a little while ago. One use of magic makes it disappear, so sacred flowers are really inefficient, aren’t they?”

Kvasir shrugs his shoulders as if to say that money and effort are wasted.

“Hmph, a magician!”

“Wait, Dior!”

Miss Elena’s black-haired servant Dior quickly threatens Kvasir with a knife.

I held my breath, fearing that he would be cut to pieces.

“Easy now.”

With minimal movement, Kvasir dodges it and kicks Dior’s leg, causing him to fall to the ground.

“Catch it.”

Kvasir briefly says and throws the sacred flower, and the small flower falls on Dior’s back and instantly extends its branches like ropes, capturing Dior.

“Ow!”

“Dior! Quickly apologize! You can’t beat a magician or someone with skill.”

It was the servant with golden hair who spoke out calmly.

“These people are enemies of Miss Elena. You better kill that young lady, Ralles.”

“With Duke Svald, the problem is bound to be exposed. We might as well let this young lady run away and mend the surface while we still can!”

“Well, that’s a good point.”

Kvasir had a happy expression.

Actually, if these servants really wanted to save Miss Elena, it would be much better for them to deceive Kvasir and me by saying that they knew nothing and selling us their gratitude.

“If it is revealed that you are keeping demon beasts, you will go to prison…”

The reason Michelia’s father was not imprisoned was because the Lexander royal family wanted to hide the fact that there were demon beasts in the country.

Demon beasts are taboo creatures.

If you possess one, what will other countries say?

Even the belligerent neighboring Kingdom of Leoguard has used demon beasts in such a way that it is impossible to tell that they used it, something they would prefer not to make public.

But it is impossible to hide it when it lives so close to the capital city like this.

The Lexander royal family will fabricate a story that I was sent from another country and try to judge me as a rebel, along with Duke Augren and his daughter Elena.

It won’t be of any help if it comes to that.

“Elena-sama will become the prince’s fiancee. This kind of scandalous incident is…”

Don’t you think this can be hushed up?

The same Miss Elena’s servant , Ralles, bites back at Dior’s surprising statement.

“You’ve been taught to believe only what’s convenient for Lady Elena, so you say such foolish things. Can she really marry the prince after causing such an incident?”

“That’s right.”

Kvasir interjected while scratching his ear.

“I, someone from the royal family, saw it all clearly, and Lars will come soon too. Lars will probably come with the minimum number of people because he doesn’t want Linea-sama’s name to be damaged by the abduction incident. Instead, he’ll thoroughly destroy the Duke Augren family.”

Dior glared at him when he was laughed at by the tip of the nose.

“Even though we’re both Duke families, how can something like this happen…”

“Do you mean to say that Count Elvasti can do something that Lars can’t? After all, Lars is respected more by the house he serves than your own. Unless there is rebellion, the royal family will continue to respect Lars.”

Kvasir’s words make him wear a grim expression.

But even so, he lowered his hand holding the knife, thinking that what Ralles and Kvasir were saying was correct.

“… So what do we do now? I guess I don’t have to ask.”

As Kvasir says this, he looks back.

The carriage that Miss Elena was supposed to be riding in is returning at an incredible speed.

Stopping a short distance away, Miss Elena jumps out of the carriage.

“Wha…”

She widen her eyes and start to tremble.

I can’t blame her for this.

She thought we must have become a pitiful sight, but her subordinates are standing around calmly and Michelia is unharmed. And I’m standing here alert.

I saw a strange flame rising from the forest, so I thought she had returned at this speed because something unexpected had happened. Surely something too unexpected happened.

Miss Elena, who doesn’t know that I’m thinking these things, has a demonic appearance.

“Why aren’t you dead… Why are my servants there? And why are you standing next to the servant girl? Did you use some kind of medicine to pacify her?!”

“Pacify? Medicine?!”

It’s a misunderstanding!

I wanted to say that, but neither her own servants nor Michelia, who should hate me, are trying to kill me.

If I consider my lack of reputation until now, it would be understandable if someone said that I used medicine to manipulate her… I might be able to make some concessions, even if only a little.

Chapter 87: And the helpers are all set

While I was thinking about such things, Miss Elena took out a small bag from the pocket of her skirt.

Upon seeing the bag with fine embroidery in silver thread, Dior, the black-haired servant, shouted.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to use them all?! The demon beast stone won’t protect you, My Lady!”

“Shut up! You must have betrayed me as well! In any case, I must kill that woman!”

Miss Elena threw the small bag she had towards me.

Several rainbow-colored, transparent stones like the ones spilled out from the bag that fell neatly at my feet.

A sweet scent wafted from the rainbow-colored stones that basked in the light of the sky.

Thinking it was some kind of medicine, I tried to block the smell, but there was no change in the servants who should have been able to smell it.

“Uwaccha.”

Tracing the direction of Kvasir’s unpleasant gaze, there were three huge rock-like monkeys sticking out their faces from the trees.

It was another demon beast, different from the Ice demon beast.

“E, eeeeh.”

I can only be confused.

I think I can probably prevent it with my skill. If I can include them in the range, Michelia and Kvasir shouldn’t get hurt either.

But what should we do afterwards?

It would be good if Kvasir could defeat it, but when I look to the side and think about it, Kvasir smiles wryly and shakes his head.

“Sorry, there is only one sacred flower left that can use the same magic as before.”

Even if one can be defeated, there are still two left.

If I were to escape at that point, I would have to take those two out of the forest.

I don’t know the reason why they didn’t leave the forest, but if it’s to chase after bait that has escaped, they will surely leave.

What if unknowing farmers or passersby are attacked?

I became lost in thought.

I tried to keep the snow, cold, and flames away from my surroundings with my skill, but it seems that wasn’t necessary. The monkeys threw rocks.

The rocks are crushed when they hit the wall of my Block Skill and scatter in a place a little distance away from me.

“Whoa.”

Even I was surprised by the loudness and vibration of the crushing sound.

“Wow.”

While Kvasir looks like he’s enjoying himself, Michelia looks up at the place where the rock was crushed with a pale face.

We have to do something sooner rather than later…

Is there anything I can do with my skill? Since I can only set the starting point to myself, I can’t use a method of trapping those monkeys either.

It was a time of indecision.

Suddenly, one of the monkeys that was still a distance away had its head severed from its body and collapsed, spraying blood.

I couldn’t see its figure beyond the trees anymore, and I heard a heavy sound and a ground tremor.

“W-Who…?”

Someone had defeated that demon beast. But how did they do it? Is there another magician around? It’s fine if there is, but are they on my side?

But it didn’t seem to be a concern.

“I’ll take down one too.”

Kvasir jumps out of my Block Skill range while still holding the sacred flower.

I follow him and he stops after running a short distance and uses the magic again.

The demon beast that was a little distance away disappears into a pillar of flame.

The remaining one roars with a raspy voice, angry at the situation, and somehow manages to run towards me.

“Uh, hold on a minute.”

I’m worried, so I activate the skill again to make sure it’s not in contact with me. I don’t want it to be easily dispelled.

But that worry was unnecessary.

“Asher.”

A familiar voice calls out his name.

A black-clad knight on a brown-haired horse appears from the forest.

It’s Asher-sama.

While he was jumping off the horse, the demon beast was approaching us.

“Heaven’s spear.”

With Kvasir’s words, lightning falls on the demon beast.

Asher-sama easily runs up the body of the demon beast with its head burnt, and cuts off its neck.

The fallen demon beast no longer moves.

And Asher-sama, who landed on the ground with a frown, said, “The carriage can’t pass.”

“It can’t be helped. We didn’t have the leisure to knock it down on purpose.”

From the direction where Asher-sama rode on horseback, Lars-sama appeared on a chestnut horse. His clothes are still the same as when he visited the Grand Marquis family.

And on the other side of the fallen demon beast’s legs, a box-shaped carriage appeared.

From inside, the private soldiers of Lars-sama, who are always seen at Lars-sama’s mansion, appeared. They can be immediately identified because they wear a green surcoat over a natural-colored mantle.

“Wh-why…”

Miss Elena, who is standing helplessly a little away from me, pulls her face towards Lars-sama and the others.

Lars-sama explained to Miss Elena.

“Albert, who you used to hold me back. He is the kind of person who can’t hide things, isn’t he. While he was constantly talking badly about Miss Linea, he seemed fine, but when he ran out of things to say, he became completely muddy and it was obvious that he was hiding something.”

It seems that Albert spit out easily.

“Thanks to that, it turns out there’s an abduction not too long after.”

Certainly. Kvasir rushed over very quickly. It was also a short time before Lars-sama came here with the private soldiers of the mansion.

To be honest, I thought that Lars-sama wouldn’t make it here in time. That’s why I thought he had sent Kvasir first.

“After that, I talked to him. About his intention to kill Miss Linea, who you think is an obstacle. And the reason why Albert cooperated. It’s really something to hide a demon beast in a place like this.”

Lars-sama sighed.

Chapter 88: Elena stabbed who

“Such a thing…”

Miss Elena shakes her head with a disagreeing expression.

“That woman is deceiving everyone. Lars-sama, you’re being deceived too. She’s pretending to be pitiful and trying to bring you all to ruin!”

At Elena’s words, Lars-sama furrows his brow.

“I’m not particularly being deceived, but Miss Linea is quite admirable.”

I wryly smile.

Even though they might not think of me as weak, I never thought I would appear admirable.

In any case, it seems that Miss Elena’s excuses have run out. She glares at me silently.

That’s why I said,

“You hated me because you wanted Albert, right? I’ve always known that you had unrequited love for him.”

“…you liked Albert?”

The one who reacted was Michelia, who stood up unsteadily.

Perhaps because the demon beast was defeated and she had calmed down a bit, she walked away me and Kvasir, towards from Miss Elena’s side.

“Didn’t you notice? She had a one-sided love for Albert.”

That spiteful gaze, and the way she looked at Albert with a gaze that seemed to be dreaming of something.

Even among the insults directed towards me, Albert was praised quite a lot.

Besides me, there should be many people who know that she cares about Albert.

“That doesn’t matter! If only you weren’t here!”

Miss Elena screamed. But I thought that I wouldn’t get hurt because Kvasir was there.

“I’ll kill you first!”

But Miss Elena heads towards Michelia.

With a knife that seemed like a self-defense weapon and was adorned beautifully, taken out from under her skirt.

Michelia froze in surprise.

I couldn’t move because of the suddenness of the situation.

Kvasir looked at Michelia with cold eyes. Normally, he probably thinks that it doesn’t matter as long as it’s not someone he’s involved with.

Lars-sama and Asher-sama were about to run.

But someone jumped out and passed them by.

“Michelia!”

The person who jumped in between Michelia and Miss Elena, shielded Michelia, and sat down on the spot screaming on, was Albert.

“Albert!”

Whose voice was that, filled with grief.

Albert was stabbed in the back by the knife and collapsed on the spot.

“Ugh… guh…”

While crouching in pain, Albert was still struggling.

So, as you would have known, Albert was trying to protect Michelia.

Although he was sometimes selfish and sometimes treated her like she was nothing to him, deep down Albert must have loved Michelia.

Miss Elena, who stabbed him, could only stare at him, her hand holding the knife trembling.

“Al, Albert-sama, why?”

Miss Elena probably didn’t understand why he would do that. Her gaze wavered in confusion.

Surely, Lars-sama and the others had brought him along for guidance. Demon beasts must have been strong and she had been hiding in that carriage until now.

But now the demon beasts were gone and Michelia’s voice could be heard.

And when Michelia was about to be killed, he probably just acted on impulse to protect her.

But why was Asher-sama so angry? He directed harsh words towards Miss Elena.

“I brought him along to show off the fruits of your labor for your love affair. You worked hard, so you want to be praised, right?”

“It’s not praise! I just want Albert-sama to understand that he can’t leave me!”

Miss Elena screamed again.

“I understand that you wanted him to understand, so you obediently showed him that Albert’s father hid the demon beasts in this forest. If it weren’t for that, this cowardly man probably wouldn’t even have stopped Lars.”

At Asher’s ironic words, Miss Elena stared with wide eyes, trembling.

“In any case, didn’t your feelings get through? He don’t need your will, the feeling of threatening to break and destroy something important, no matter how important it is, if he defy yourself. And I’m sure Albert answered. If something important is going to be destroy, it’s better for him to be hurt than for it to happen.”

The knife she was holding fell to the still frozen ground.

Miss Elena seemed to have no energy left.

“Arrest her.”

Following Asher-sama’s instructions, Lars-sama’s soldiers acted.

They bound the dazed Miss Elena with ropes, and quickly restrained her two followers, and took them to the horse-drawn carriage they came on.

Asher-sama also headed towards there.

Meanwhile, Albert, who had been stabbed, had a look of anguish on his face and continued to groan.

“Um, magician-sama! Please save Albert!”

Michelia pleaded with Kvasir.

“Hmm.”

However, Kvasir’s response was slow. Michelia quickly changed the person she was pleading with to me.

“Please, I’ll do anything you say. If you tell me to lick your shoes, I’ll do it! So please, beg this magician-sama!”

“Linea-sama, it’s no use begging me. I can’t cure injuries like that.”

“E…”

Michelia’s expression turned to despair.

But Kvasir continued with a nonchalant attitude.

“If you’re going to beg, Linea-sama, you should beg Lars-sama instead.”

“Lars-sama?”

I tilted my head, but it seemed that Lars-sama was approaching us and his voice was heard.

“Kvasir… Before you beg, let’s get the necessary treatment done.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Kvasir, who had bowed to the bitter-faced Lars-sama, used one sacred flower.

Chapter 89: His Secret

Miss Elena and her followers who were in a distant place fell down with a thud. Lars-sama’s soldiers put the three who had become immobile on a carriage.

Then Michelia also collapses on the spot and falls asleep, and Albert begins to breathe quietly in his sleep.

“If you want to talk about it, I wish you had taken care of it earlier, Kvasir.”

“It’s just the way things go, you know? So, what are you going to do?”

Lars-sama, who was asked by Kvasir, closes his eyes and looks straight back at Kvasir.

“Since I led you to this answer, I would like you to promise to erase as much of the memories of people as you need without charge, Kvasir. That is the condition.”

What does that mean?

On the other hand, Kvasir hums and whistles.

“Are you serious?”

“If she so wishes, that is… was the sacred flower the star of illusion?”

Kvasir nods to Lars-sama’s words.

“One will do for now. I might use a lot more when adjusting later.”

“There aren’t that many blooming, so please don’t overuse it, Kvasir.”

Saying it with a look of surprise, Lars-sama approaches Albert.

He kneels next to Albert, who is blue in the face and appears to be sleeping with a painful look of gritting his teeth, and slowly touches his injury with his fingertips.

A light like a firefly shines on his fingertips and the wound.

The soft light gradually covers the entire wound and then suddenly disappears.

And the wound disappears completely.

“This is…”

I realized that it was a skill.

If it was magic, a sacred flower would be needed. Kvasir said that he couldn’t cure injuries with magic. If I believe that, such a phenomenon cannot occur other than with a skill.

“Lars-sama…”

I don’t know what to say and whisper his name.

Lars-sama, who stood up, smiled at me and then instructed Kvasir.

“While you’re at it, wipe this man’s recent memory of a girl named Michelia, because he might have been listening.”

“Understood.”

Kvasir gives a grand gesture like an actor, bows, and then takes out a new sacred flower from his pocket.

“Memory, go back in time.”

He exhales softly.

Then, the pink double flowers dissolve like grains of sand and pour down on Michelia and Albert, turning into light.

“Yes, we’re done.”

“Thank you for your hard work.”

“Was that…?”

I muttered without thinking, and Lars-sama smiled wryly.

Before the person himself could speak, Kvasir explains from the side.

“Healing is something that can’t be done with magic, Linea-sama.”

“Yeah, but…”

Did Lars-sama just heal Albert’s injury with a skill?

But there should only be one person with such a skill.

“Saint-sama…”

The only person I know of who has that skill is the one at the highest position in the temple.

“There are circumstances.”

Lars-sama answered, looking a little sad.

Chapter 90: What’s going on?

I wonder what happened

Kvasir said to me that it would be better if I went back first while I was feeling confused.

Lars-sama and the others are going to call someone from the palace to explain about this incident and think about how to respond.

In the meantime, they decided to leave(stay with) the corpses of the demon beasts in the forest as is because it would be troublesome if someone accidentally disposed of them.

They also said they would interview Miss Elena and Albert while they had the chance.

Even though I think it would be fine to wait until the person sent from the palace conducts the inquiry, if they leave it as is, it will become a nuisance in various ways.

“For example, like Linea-sama’s skill,” said Kvasir.

My skill was not only witnessed by Albert and Michelia but also by Miss Elena and her servants.

Since we can’t change our policy of hiding it, it’s necessary to erase their memories after hearing the circumstances.

And then, we have to report the results as Lars-sama drew it to the royal family and get Miss Elena and the others to nod to it.

“I apologize for the inconvenience…”

It’s very troublesome and time-consuming work that we have to do. Especially if Albert’s memories before and after getting hurt are missing, Miss Elena will not be satisfied easily.

I bowed my head deeply to Lars-sama.

“I’m sorry that I was late in coming.”

“No, you were very fast.”

I shook my head.

Lars-sama had not seen directly what had happened to me and had been in a distant place.

Moreover, he had come alone, if he had been informed by Marc and brought the soldiers along with him, it would have taken even more time to move people.

Normally, it would not be strange for it to take longer.

But because it was that fast, it was too much.

“When erasing memories with Kvasir’s magic, detailed operations are not possible. Just now, he roughly erased memories until a few minutes ago.”

Come to think of it, he had said something like a spell that returned the time.

It must have been something that really returned memories until one or more minutes ago.

“For Duke Augren’s daughter, it will be necessary to repeat the fine memory operations. From what she just heard, I think Kvasir will be in trouble but, it will be easier later if it is remembered that she stabbed Albert with her own hand.”

If she remembers that, Miss Elena will not be obsessed with Albert.

If she could clearly recognize that she was not chosen, it wouldn’t be strange for her to say that she lost interest in it, because of her pride.

At the same time, her excessive hatred towards me can also be subdued.

“Either way, the Duke Augren house is going to lose quite a bit of power, so they probably won’t have much influence.”

I was startled by Lars-sama’s statement, but it’s an inevitable thing.

Because they tried to kill people by manipulating demon beasts. Of course, the same goes for Albert’s Count Herkuvis house.

Then, what will happen to his relationship with Michelia?

Lars-sama smiled small as I couldn’t help but think about it.

“Is there something that worries you? Because you are a gentle person, it is not strange for you to want to help someone who has been cruel to you.”

No, I am not such a saintly person.

“I just wondered what those two will do. They seem to be in love with each other more than I imagined.”

Michelia, who screamed that she doesn’t mind bowing to me if it meant saving Albert.

Albert, who protected Michelia from the deadly blade.

Both of them, when they were almost at their limit, only thought about each other and acted accordingly.

“…You won’t ask me about anything more than that.”

When those words were suddenly said to me, I didn’t know what to do.

Thinking, he replied honestly.

“Since Lars-sama had been hiding it all this time, I wasn’t sure if it was okay for me to ask. I too, until recently, had kept my skill a secret from everyone and hid them. That’s why I thought that Lars-sama also had a reason for hiding things from me until now.”

Then I added with a little smile.

“It does interest me though.”

But if there’s something he doesn’t want to say, I won’t ask.

Even so, I know that if necessary, Lars-sama will use his power to help me.

Rather, because he’s not saying he wants to erase my memories, I think it’s okay to let me know that he has healing skill…I interpreted it that way.

Lars-sama, after listening to my story, opened his eyes in surprise and then smiled.

“I’ll explain it to you now.”

Saying that, Lars-sama pulled my hand and gave instructions to Asher-sama and Kvasir. Our destination was a fallen tree that was visible from where they were.

We sat on it, side by side. Even though I was mostly unconscious due to the numbness medicine, it was a relief to be able to sit down because I was tired.

“To put it simply, there are only two humans with healing skill.”

“Two people…”

“One is me and the other is my younger brother.”

Chapter 91: Lars-sama’s past

I had heard that Lars-sama had a younger brother.

Since it was talked about in the past tense and I had never heard about any family from anywhere, I thought he was already dead.

I had also been careful not to ask about those things until Lars-sama talked about it.

“Isn’t it strange? I talked about having a younger brother, but there’s not even a portrait of him in the house. There aren’t even portraits of our parents. That’s because it was all to protect my brother. The beginning of it all was when I was discovered to have healing skill when I was very young and was welcomed to the temple as a Saint.”

He explained it simply like that.

Lars-sama, from a very young age, had to live in the great temple that was located away from here.

At that time, it seems they explained Lars-sama’s absence in the Duke Svald household as “being sick and staying on the territory”.

Because if it became known who the Saint was, there might be people who would threaten his family to heal them.

That’s how rare the healing skill were.

The royal family knew about it, but only the king and his closest subordinates knew.

Even when moving to the Grand Temple, Saint would meticulously pretend to travel to a territory and have someone from the Grand Temple come and pick them up during a stopover, taking them away in the middle of the night.

All of this was done so that Saint could act without delay.

In order not to be troubled by people who might recognize them by accident, they also burned all of their portraits.

——Even so, there were people who noticed.

Young Lars-sama felt pitiful that he never met with his parents and so, the former Duke and Duchess Svald met Lars-sama once a year at a different estate in the territory.

Of course, his younger brother was also there.

Especially at the age of thirteen, Lars-sama felt that his healing skill were weakening and was anxious, so the people of the Grand Temple allowed him to interact with their family for the sake of his mental stability.

At that estate, there were intruders.

They said they wanted Lars-sama to heal their illness with his healing skill and pointed a sword at them, making demands.

The Duke and Duchess Svald tried to protect Lars-sama.

As a result, the two of them were killed by the sword of the intruders.

Lars-sama thought he at least wanted to protect his younger brother.

Even though he couldn’t do it, he lied and said he could heal the illness, and thought they should leave this estate first. At that moment, his younger brother was captured.

“And at that time, finally the temple knights in charge of protection came. The intruders were killed and my younger brother clung to our parents. And he said to me, ‘Big brother, can you heal injuries? Heal it quickly!’ But I couldn’t. It was only once a day, that was the condition of my healing skill at that time.”

Unfortunately, Lars-sama had already used his skill on his injured younger brother while he was playing that day.

His younger brother, who realized it was his own fault and grieved, clung to their parents.

That was the time.

“My younger brother used the healing skill. Although my father couldn’t be saved because the healing was too late, my mother somehow managed to hold on to her life. And my younger brother could use the skill multiple times, just like when I first could use the healing skill.”

As a result of this incident, Lars-sama demanded that the Great Temple apologize for failing to protect him.

One is to make his brother who has stronger healing skill than him a the Saint.

The second was to hide his mother’s life and death and let her live with his younger brother in the temple.

“As a result, I inherited the Duke house, as a pitiable noble who lost his family.”

“That was to protect your younger brother and mother, right?”

If he becomes a saint, his younger brother will be protected deep in the Great Temple. His mother who accompanies him will also be protected.

“And Lars-sama chose the lonely path to protect them.”

To avoid danger like the time with Lars-sama, he made the decision to lose his family.

So he won’t see his brother again and everyone will believe that he’s dead.

Meanwhile, his younger brother made sure that his mother could stay by his side. He also experienced the horror of being attacked by bandits while he was still a child and carried the grief of losing his father because he could not save him.

In order to ease those things, he probably decided that his mother should always be by his side.

I also think that this is the best way.

“That’s why I couldn’t find the courage to tell you, Linea. Even though I had such a skill and was even worshiped as a saint, I couldn’t save my parents.”

Lars-sama may belittle himself, but I shook my head.

“That’s not true. If the lives of family members are at stake and you love those family members, it’s only natural that you can’t say anything.”

Unfortunately, I never felt that kind of affection from my only family, my father. So it’s just imagination for me.

If it was necessary for me to keep my mouth shut to protect the lives of Lars-sama, Asher-sama and Katie, I would do so.

“…I’m glad you told me that. It was good to talk.”

Lars-sama had a slightly dejected look, but he smiled.

Then he returned to the side of Asher-sama and Kvasir.

Chapter 92: I’ll put a stop to any misunderstandings here

It seemed like something was going on over there.

Even from a distance, it was clear that Michelia and Albert had already awakened.

As we approached, Kvasir came towards us.

“What’s the situation?”

Kvasir, who was asked by Lars-sama, shrugged his shoulders.

“It’s been very difficult for me to tamper with the girl’s memories. Because every time I check how much she remembers and if she still remembers the skill, then I have to erase it, and I have to do this twice.”

Kvasir let out a sigh.

Furthermore, ultimately, it was nullified by the effect of the oath Linea-sama made. So, I put a spell on her that would make her unable to speak if she tried to break the oath Linea-sama made her take. I also made her promise not to speak of it to anyone.

“We were together at that time…”

In order to prevent Michelia from having nightmares from the traumatic experiences she had, I had been protecting her with my skill.

So she had been watching and listening all along.

It’s almost impossible to erase that, or we would have to go back in her memories before she woke up in the forest.

I asked if it was possible and Kvasir replied that it was impossible with the current sacred flower we had and that we would have to spend several months searching for flowers that bloomed in deep mountains and valleys.

We should be satisfied with this.

Besides… I felt that Michelia would not tell anyone.

She had knelt before me, someone she hates, and made a promise, even though she had more pride than I.

Above all, her resentments towards me should have decreased. If she understood that she wouldn’t have to be so obsessed with Albert, now that she knows the skill.

And now too, I did not feel any hostility in her sidelong glances. Rather, it seemed like she had realized something.

“The guy didn’t need to have his memory tampered with,” Kvasir continued.

Then, what exactly is going on?

“You two should have told me why you’re here now…”

“Why are you here? Even if you were kidnapped, why did Elena-sama need to use you?”

Albert asked Michelia.

Michelia, who had dropped her head, seemed to have decided to speak honestly.

“… I just couldn’t stand it.”

When she raised her head, the person she glared at was Albert.

“I thought that Linea just wanted to get engaged to you and that’s why he caused my father’s ruin. That’s why I was invited by Elena-sama to kill Linea and I accepted.”

Albert looks like he’s in pain.

Then, Lars-sama told me from the side.

“Apparently Albert was also invited by Miss Elena to get rid of you, and he cooperated in order to stop me. It’s clever, isn’t it? She made them dirty their own hands, and only needed a little help from them.”

“Her deceitful ways are amazing…”

Because it was a talk about a plan to kill myself, I didn’t know how to react. I was glad that the plan had failed.

“I couldn’t reach Count Elvasti himself, so I wanted to make Linea suffer. It wasn’t necessary…”

Michelia, not knowing how much to confess, seemed to be about to sit down and cry in her eyes.

I felt that Michelia understood my talk and felt relieved.

Yes, I don’t like Albert, so there was no need for her to hate me either.

Albert hugged Michelia in such a state.

Albert still seems to not know anything, and says something outrageous.

“It’s all Linea’s fault. She fell in love with me. And that’s the only reason you’re in the mess you’re in…”

He probably means to console her, but I can’t just ignore it.

With a snap, I couldn’t help but approach the two of them.

“Just so you know. I never once wanted to be engaged to you, Albert Herkuvis.”

“L-Linea?!”

I’m sure he never thought I was listening, and that I was right next to him. It’s probably because I was approaching from his diagonal side.

“I’ll tell you now because it’s hard to deal with you always having strange assumptions,” I said to Albert.

“I hate you, Albert-sama.”

Chapter 93: It seems like everything has come together smoothly

“…Huh?”

It seemed that Albert had never imagined such a thing, and he tilted his head as if he couldn’t understand.

“Please listen carefully. I never wanted to marry you and the topic of engagement was brought up by your father, not me. My real father never even considered the idea of an engagement. He’s more the type of person who always seems to forget I even exist.”

“Bu, But my father…”

“It’s simple-minded to think that everything your father says is right. Can’t you imagine the situation? Have I ever spoken to you with any more politeness than necessary?”

If I had feelings for Albert, I wouldn’t have acted that way.

Albert seemed to have some understanding, and he averted his gaze.

I thought, if that’s the case, I wish they would both quickly get together and go to a world that has nothing to do with me. And with that thought, the next words came out of my mouth:

“So showing off your relationship with Michelia was nothing but a nuisance. If you really like her, then you should just hold hands and run away together without worrying about me, who you apparently dislike.”

Ah, that’s right, I thought to myself with a sneer, like a villainess.

“But you were someone who couldn’t even support one woman, weren’t you? You could only continue with our hated engagement for so many years as your father said…You’re just a coward who’s only scared of getting scolded by your father, aren’t you?”

At being called a coward, Albert raised his eyebrows. But then he lowered his head as soon as he saw Lars-sama beside me.

I decided to say what I wanted to say now.

“If it weren’t for this kind of thing, after you marry me and put on a show of endurance, you would have told Michelia something like ‘It’s for the sake of the family, I’m sorry. I’m a terrible man who sacrifices you to save the family. But I don’t want to let you go’, and then you would keep her as a mistress, right?”

Albert remained with his head down.

Since he didn’t even argue back, Michelia looked at Albert with a slightly resigned expression, as if remembering what I had said earlier.

“Among the commoners, it’s said that those who are mistresess are clawed at, isn’t that right? Because you’re not the legal wife you don’t have much authority. But you’re treated favorably from everything, from clothing, food and shelter, to something else…and so on.”

I said this, revealing the story I heard from Katie.

“Albert-sama, you may be good, but she’ll be living on a needle in a haystack for the rest of her life. Saying you love her and asking her to do that… do you really love her? Are you just thinking of her as a convenient woman?”

Michelia bit her lip.

She must have been shocked by Albert’s words and actions, which seemed to affirm what I had just said.

Albert had always intended to keep her in the shadows. She must have been reminded of that again.

But after a few seconds, Albert said with a groan,

“Sure, the house was important. Of course, all nobles are raised that way. It’s not just me who’s wrong. But…”

Finally, Albert raised his face.

His gaze was fixed on Michelia, who was listening intently to his words.

“For so long, I’ve been told to obey my parents and do what’s best for the house. But now I can break free from that. My father will probably lost his noble title from the royal family for keeping demon beasts… We’re the same, Michelia. So we don’t have to worry about the house anymore. Let’s get married.”

“Albert…”

Michelia’s eyes widened in disbelief at what she had heard.

I decided to distance myself from those two.

“Now I can finally get away from all this weird resentment…”

I didn’t think Albert had that kind of spirit.

I was honestly surprised and sent a round of applause to Albert in my mind.

Even though I’ve been called bad names and couldn’t bring myself to praise out loud, I can believe that his feelings for Michelia were true love.

Besides, if he never appears in front of me again, I can let go of my grudges.

As I breathed out in a place a little away, Lars-sama came up to me.

“I think surveillance is necessary, so after the Count’s house is wiped out, I’ve proposed that we take in those two in our house territory.”

“I’m sorry, for all the consideration you have given me.”

Lars-sama has been burdened by the fact that they has inadvertently seen my skill.

“It’s alright. Those two, if they leave the noble society and start a peaceful life, maybe they’ll realize that you’ve been tolerating and worrying about many things.”

“It doesn’t matter if they don’t realize it…”

Just forget about it.

It may be impossible to forget the battle with the demon beasts, which are ridiculous memories together.

“You must be tired. Please return to the mansion first. Also, if you are here, it will be difficult to explain when someone sent from the palace comes… Kvasir!”

Lars-sama called Kvasir and instructed me to return with him.

And then, I finally left the forest where the ridiculous commotion had occurred.

Chapter 94: At the Academy afterwards

On that day, Lars-sama didn’t come home until late at night.

Kvasir, who had sent me home, also went to Lars-sama’s side and returned home late at night with Asher-sama and Lars-sama.

It was such a late hour that I was worried and waiting for him to come home, but I held back from calling out to him. He must be tired, so I wanted him to rest.

The next day, both I and Lars-sama took a day off from the Academy.

Even though I was taking a break, it was important to take care of myself. After all, I was kidnapped and used my skill excessively, so I was told to be careful by Lars-sama.

“You never know what might happen. Haven’t you suddenly fallen ill before?”

“I don’t think that will happen this time…”

This time is different from before, my feelings are different. Many problems in my life have been solved, and I’m feeling relieved.

“Even so, I’m still worried.”

Lars-sama reaches out his hand to my shoulder. Gently, with his fingertips, he pushes back my hair that was resting on my shoulder, and then the three of us, Lars-sama, Asher-sama and Kvasir, headed to the palace for follow-up.

After that, for a week, the three of them were busy and I couldn’t talk to them much, but I understand that it can’t be helped.

“In any case, we have to have a discussion about whether to crush the Duke and Count houses one by one.

We have to decide whether to hide the fact that they kept demon beasts or not. If we hide it, what kind of reason should they come up with? There are many things to talk about.

I went back to the Academy as usual.

In the Academy, I was able to pass the time more peacefully than I thought.

Miss Brenda, who had already heard the general situation, treated me as usual.

“I’ve only heard that there were problems with the Duke Augren and Count Herkuvis houses. Basically, I’ve been told to be careful about anyone who had connections with those houses…”

Miss Brenda looked around.

The people who were always with Duke Augren’s daughters had a confused expression and were frozen. They weren’t having a conversation.

“It seems like the details haven’t leaked yet. It’s because Lars-sama and the others are involved.”

“Yes, but… It’s not my fault.”

Occasionally, I could hear snippets of conversation that only touched on Miss Elena, but didn’t go into any detail.

It’s strange, thinking back on how Miss Elena would blame me for everything, even if it rained or she tripped, and how everyone would give me accusing glances.

“The fear that I felt towards Linea-sama was because of the terrifying rumors that I had heard and the evaluations of those around me…”

“Rumors and evaluations, right?”

“As for the mysterious and terrible rumors, they were reduced significantly when you became a foster daughter of another house. Originally, they were rumors about Linea-sama’s real family, but it doesn’t matter now. And as for evaluations from those around you, it was mainly because you didn’t want to be glared at by Duke Augren’s daughter or royalty.”

Miss Brenda then gave a bitter smile.

“I was also afraid that by approaching Linea-sama, I would be lowering my evaluation from Lars-sama, who is also royalty, and others.”

“That can’t be helped. If your evaluation lowers, it will affect your family and marriage prospects.”

People won’t want to marry a girl from a house with bad rumors, especially if they’re a noble.

“Linea-sama is really kind. If she had been Duke Augren’s daughter, we wouldn’t have become friends.”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Miss Elena might be friendly on the surface, but you don’t know what she would do later. After all, she’s the one who tried to kill me with a demon beast.

On the way home that day, one of the people who was usually with Miss Elena approached me while I was with Miss Brenda and the others.

“Um… ”

I turned around to the voice filled with unusual determination, and saw her hiding in the shadows of a rose arch in the garden visible from the winding corridor.

She had black hair twisted into a spiral and tied up on top, always wearing a silver hair ornament shaped like a flower. I like the simplicity of the hair ornament without any jewels, but sometimes Miss Elena said it looked cheap.

She always pretended to be “honored to be a foil for Elena-sama.”

I wondered why she would approach me.

“I-I apologize for my attitude, Linea-sama. I couldn’t let anyone else see me like this.”

I realized that she doesn’t want to be found by anyone, especially Miss Elena’s entourage, who are always with her. Perhaps her business is not related to a complaint about Miss Elena.

“Um. About the future of Elena, Duke Augren’s daughter… I was wondering if you know anything about the people who used to serve in that house.”

“People who used to serve…?”

I wondered why the black-haired lady in front of me would be concerned about the servants of Miss Elena’s house. At that moment, Miss Brenda, who was sitting next to me, whispered to me.

“Perhaps her servants were taken away by Elena-sama.”

“Oh…”

I had heard that she liked to take away her entourage’s favorite servants.

Perhaps the black-haired lady in front of me was someone who had to give her servants to Miss Elena.

“I don’t know the situation well yet. I can imagine that the survival of the house may be difficult, but…”

I had to pretend that I had not encountered any demon beasts and that I knew nothing, so I answered that way.

The black-haired lady burst into tears.

“A person named Ralles who used to serve in my house is now in Elena-sama’s house. From that person, I received a letter, a… will.”

“A will?”

“No matter what happens, it has nothing to do with you. Because I have already left to work for another family. I just want you to take care of my sister.”

Tears rolled down her cheeks and fell on the hem of her wide blue dress.

“Ralles is the one who stopped me from going against Elena-sama, and became her servant willingly. He is a benefactor of my family, but it seems that he has been involved in something terrible. I’m afraid that he might be executed, and that’s why I couldn’t stay any longer.”

As I listened, I suddenly remembered.

In the forest where the demon beasts were, one of the two servants was named Ralles. He was the one who stopped the other servant who tried to kill me.

“He has golden hair, and he’s good-looking…”

Judging by his appearance, it was almost certain. So that’s it, he was the one who was reluctantly serving.

And I’m sure he was trying to help me.

“Let’s ask Lars-sama.”

The black-haired lady looked up at my words.

“I don’t know how far I can go, but I’ll let you know.”

“Thank…thank you…”

She covered her tear-stained face with her hands and fell prostrate.

I remembered Michelia who begged me for Albert’s life. Ralles, the servant, might have been someone very important to her.

After I returned, I talked to Lars-sama, who I could only see in the morning, about Ralles. I asked him for compassion because he was a benefactor who tried to help me.

Chapter 95: Finally, sweet treats

And so, a week passed, and it was the Academy’s day off.

Lars-sama and his group also finished the task safely.

I, along with Asher-sama and Kvasir-sama, who I sat with unusually, had dinner with four people.

Today’s meal was particularly heavy on meat. I heard that men like meat, so the cook of Duke Svald’s house must have shown off his skill for Lars-sama and his group.

I was also happy for the small consideration of reducing my portion.

I ate a smooth corn soup, salad, and the main dish. When it was time to start drinking tea, Kvasir and Asher-sama said they had business and left the room.

Then, Lars-sama told me about the decision made in the palace.

“We’re going to keep the demon beasts a secret.”

Lars-sama nods.

“It’s because it will reveal our country’s weakness to other countries. So, we’re having a hard time finding reasons to destroy the houses.”

“What… happened?”

“Duke Augren was stripped of his title due to not properly collecting taxes from his territory and becoming unable to perform his duties due to illness. The reason for the tax collection is true, and there was also the fact that he was disrespectful during the king’s questioning, so many reasons led to this conclusion.”

Duke Augren seems to have increased the factors for his own downfall.

“Miss Elena is… ”

“Of course, she’s no longer a Duke’s daughter. From now on, both the Duke and her will live in prison, as banishing them would be too dangerous.”

Lars-sama added, “And then.”

“The servant who tried to help you, could have had his memory erased cleanly, fired from Duke’s household and sent back to his original employer. After that, whether or not he lives with the lady who pleaded to you is up to him.”

“That’s good…”

I feel relieved, because it was something that I was worried about.

“And Count Herkuvis’s household was also dealt with in the same way.”

It’s Albert’s household.

“Here, the reason that Count Herkuvis was not a legitimate successor was because we altered the records of the temple, and stripped him of his Count position. The people who were involved with demon beasts under his command were also arrested. Albert was treated as a member of a different family… but it seems that among the people who knew him before, it was hard for him to be seen as a Count’s descendant and not just someone who lost their position. He decided to move to a town in my territory with the girl, and should have already relocated.”

I listened to the explanation and felt relieved.

Now, I wouldn’t have to suffer at the Academy anymore.

The engagement that felt like a chain holding me down had also completely disappeared.

“Thank you very much. I don’t know how I can repay this favor… But as long as I’m here, I’ll protect anyone close to me! I’ve realized that with my skill, I can ensure safety even against demon beasts.”

If I were to say something extreme, as long as I didn’t sleep, no one would have to worry about getting hurt.

“I don’t want to involve you in such dangerous things,”

“No, I really want to repay the favor,”

When I said that, Lars-sama suddenly touched my head.

“You don’t have to think about repaying a favor. Just having you by my side is enough.”

Being stroked like a child, I feel a calming, yet embarrassing feeling.

Lars-sama’s hand strokes my hair and twists a strand of my bangs around his fingers.

“And also, thanks to you, research on the sacred flower is progressing. I will probably continue researching the sacred flower forever, so I hope you’ll continue to be by my side. If you really want to repay me, please do so.”

Lars-sama says this and lifts my bangs with his fingers and kisses me.

“…!”

“Is that okay?”

I am surprised and can only look down.

Lars-sama laughs and stands up.

“Well then, get some rest, Miss Linea. If Count Radin’s daughter doesn’t graduate from the Academy properly, I’ll get scolded by the Count.”

“Yes.”

I nod and think about my life that will change again.

Now, I have people who care about me and I can live without being glared at by someone.

Just that alone made me feel like a bright future was coming.

“Good night then.”

I greeted Lars-sama and returned to my room.

The room was neatly arranged, and as I entered, Katie appeared to prepare me for sleep.

After Katie helped me get ready for bed, I immediately felt like going to sleep, but I noticed a small box on the tea table.

When I opened it, there were beautiful, clear, glass-like flowers inside, like aquamarine.

They were sacred flower confections .

They looked like carnations, with delicate, beautiful shapes.

“More than anything, I am so happy that I can eat sacred flower confections with such a bright feeling.”

I took one of the petals and put it in my mouth.

As I felt the sweetness melt away, I savored a feeling of happiness.

—The End—

Neko-chan: The LN version is far superior.


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