I was curious about something recently.
I wasn’t talking about Nika-sama or Shade. I was curious about something else.
In the beginning, when I had just arrived at this town on the outskirts of the capital, news of my disengagement with the Ore-sama prince had already spread, and they had announced the lightning-fast love engagement to Lily-chan soon after. I nodded happily when I heard it.
Recently, however, I had heard rumors that the prince and his fiancée were having some disagreements.
It could have been ignored if it was simply a rumor, but I felt uneasy hearing such a rumor surfaced when they had only been together for about a month. Even if you didn’t believe these rumors, if you listened to them, you would know that they held an element of truth. There was nothing concrete, but when the two of them were at social parties, they seemed absent-minded, and their conversations with one another seemed strained. It was my belief that those feelings had been slowly transmitted through the aristocracy and finally reached the now commoner me, who was living on the outskirts of the capital. I didn’t know to what extent the rumors were true, but I didn’t think that they were lies.
…uu~n, this didn’t seem to be a good sign. Even though you couldn’t stop people from gossipping, for this to spread so easily… Could it be that somebody was conspiring against them? Maybe the dignity of Ore-sama prince and the royal family was weakening…?
Now then, was this just their personal issue, or was it somewhat related to me?
In Lady Ro, if the heroine chose another capture target’s route at the right time, Liliana and the Ore-sama prince came together and mutually talked about being with the person they each loved. Therefore, since our engagement had been broken, there shouldn’t be a big issue…I think.
Since I was born a noble, I could have abandoned my dream of becoming a commoner and chosen a capture target out of goodwill, despite lacking romantic feelings for him. I am sure that would have been the best situation for everyone.
However, I wanted to become a commoner. I had wanted to become a commoner, no matter what. I had been working hard for that very reason.
I accepted any difficulties that came with becoming a commoner, but I didn’t want my future to be decided by the family I was born into. I couldn’t accept a responsibility that I hadn’t chosen, but had been pushed onto me instead. If there had been at least one thing I wanted to protect over there, it would have been different, but there had been nothing. I had found an early happiness, not on the path that had been decided for me, but on the road next to it. I believed that you could not find happiness on a path that had been decided for you.
If I had not recovered my memories and there had been a time when I believed that my parents and the people around me were everything to me, then it would have been a different story. However, I knew that the world wouldn’t end, even after I ran away.
I couldn’t become a kind child who sacrificed herself like a gentle saint.
It would be nice if Lily-chan and Ore-sama prince’s conflict was similar to my situation with the Ore-sama prince in Lady Ro.
However, it would be troublesome for me if Lily exposed that lie, even if it was by mistake. Lily-chan and I now shared the same destiny.
Well, even though I was thinking about these things, it wasn’t like I could directly do anything about it now. There was no way I could make an idiotic remark like ‘I will frankly enter Lily-chan’s Inoshi family house or the school and consult with her!’ From Lily-chan’s perspective, it would only look like I wanted to retaliate.
That was why I decided to lightly and indirectly ask Nika-sama, who had come to the bakery to pick me up, about the rumors as we walked side by side. If it was Nika-sama, he would probably know something about the turbulence between the two, since he was always nearby.
“Is Liliana-sama doing well?”
When I said this, I began to think that my words sounded kind of sarcastic, due to my position, even though I truly wanted her to be doing well.
I kept a calm facade and, while panicking inside, corrected the conversation by changing the subject.
“Since I am the one who understands the hardship of becoming His Highness’s fiancée best…I believe that she is going through a much harder time than I did, who was gradually taught since childhood.”
…I couldn’t do it. No matter how hard I tried to think of a way to advocate for Lily-chan, I couldn’t seem to find the correct words from my position. The more I said, the more it sounded sarcastic. Whatever I said led to a checkmate. Was the dream of reconciling with Lily-chan at 0% for the rest of my life?
Although I was depressed, none of my inner feelings leaked out of my useless facade of being a refined lady, even now. My acting skill, which had actually been cultivated from my previous life, let alone my childhood, wasn’t just for show. It had been further polished by my goal of becoming a commoner, and it had now become my best skill. Yes, I know. This was not a skill I should boast about, or even talk about with anyone.
Sure enough, Nika-sama responded without noticing my depression.
“I think that, physically, she is fine.”
Nika-sama’s blunt reply was awful. In other words, while she was physically fine, she might not be fine mentally. I was too worried. This was definitely not the time to be asking about her relationship with His Highness.
I could kill two birds with one stone right now, if I could somehow guide Nika-sama to support Lily-chan and have him leave me be. However, I guess it wasn’t possible. I wasn’t a genius. I couldn’t think of a way around it.
Nika-sama lowered his gaze, as if wondering about my silence.
“Lately, I also feel a little sympathetic towards Lady Liliana. It’s impossible for her to conduct herself at the same level as Fii. Even so, she doesn’t appear to be giving up, but…it’s only a matter of time until she does.”
Wait a minute. Did this mean that, by Nika-sama’s prediction, Lily-chan’s downfall was in the near future? Wait, wait! Obviously, since I had been training for the position of fiancée since childhood, it would be difficult for Lily-chan to be at my level. There were things like forming new relationships and learning proper etiquette, but those were things that could be solved with effort and time, right?
Ku… I wanted Nika-sama to cooperate. Nika-sama, who was accustomed to being a royal, had supported me during my childhood. I shouldn’t make excuses for being unable to do anything. I had to do something to suggest that Liliana-chan had a future.
“Lilliana-sama was already an excellent person. As long as she works hard, she will be able to catch up to me and become the future queen.”
Hmm? There was no assent, let alone a response. Did he dislike Lily-chan that much? Well, that was fine. At any rate, I should continue to press for an answer.
“If it’s Nika-sama, then you must have known, right? Before becoming the perfect Lady Rose, even I was filled with fear and awe. My actual abilities were only just above average. I wasn’t anything special, right?”
Yes, I was only slightly above average. Even when I tried my best, I had to cover up for my shortcomings with my acting. Until recently, I had been using it to barely maintain the appearance of a noble, as well as the Ore-sama prince’s fiancee. This was because I had no plans to retain my social status, so there was no need for me to become the real thing. To me, the name “Lady Rose” described a mannequin that wore a beautiful, artificial flower.
If I had the time to turn that fake flower into a real one, I would rather spend it studying how to be a commoner, since I would be living as one for the rest of my life.
In Nika-sama’s case, since he was a genius childhood friend who had known me when my acting was poor, I suspected that he had surely seen through my true capabilities by now… For now, I decided to make sure that pushing for an answer didn’t backfire on me.
“You knew about it, didn’t you, Nika-sama?”
“…ah, yes. That is correct but, please, wait for a moment.”
For the time being, I was glad that I didn’t get a random answer. However, why was he so flustered when he stopped me? He agreed with me, didn’t he? If so, this matter should have been over already. If he agreed that Lily-chan had a future, I wanted to continue on with the story. Was there something about our conversation that worried him? Nika-sama ignored my question and remained silent, wearing a considerably serious expression.
After a minute or so, his eyes opened wide, as if he had realized something very important just now.
Hey now, what happened?
(TL: She is using commoner speak here.)
“––no doubt that it’s unbelievable, but don’t tell me… Fii…are you really unaware of it…?”
I was sorry for making him stop while he was collecting pieces of some important information and speaking it as if he was holding a presentation, but in the first place, what did he mean by “it”? What exactly did Nika-sama mean? I couldn’t even understand the earlier discussion, even if I took the previous conversation into account. Why couldn’t he say things in an understandable manner?
With that silent complaint, I tilted my head, vaguely questioning him. Nika-sama then turned serious. I instinctively became uneasy.
W-what? I didn’t understand what had happened just a while ago. Don’t just grasp the situation without explaining it to me as well! I wasn’t a genius like Nika-sama, so if he didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t understand!
“It seems like…I have greatly misunderstood.”
“Haa…what do you mean by that?”
It was quite irritating when he said things so vaguely, in a way that could only be understood if you already knew. Say all of it.
Nika-sama ignored my wish and fell silent once more.
…un, it wasn’t something that could be said easily. I understood.
“……I’m sorry, but I can’t say it. It is more convenient if Fii really misunderstands and isn’t aware of it.”
In the end, he still wouldn’t tell me, showing off that “don’t worry about it” behavior.
Was Nika-sama sure that he wasn’t the one misunderstanding me? I couldn’t understand anymore. He ought to stop completing thoughts only to himself. This was why geniuses were so…
Unsatisfied with this, I sugarcoated my question.
“You won’t tell me, even though it’s related to me?”
“Ahh, I’m sorry.”
Nika-sama apologized with a bright smile. What did that mean? He didn’t look apologetic.
“I was planning to tell you that Liliana-sama has an infinite number of possibilities in the future, and would like your cooperation for His Highness’s sake as well…”
“…That must be the case, if Fii recommends Lady Liliana to this extent. Just like I did in Fii’s case, I shall look at her with an open mind.”
It had become somewhat troubling that I couldn’t understand what he meant, and since we were getting close to my house, I had tried speaking frankly. However, I had not expected him to give a favorable response so readily. I was shocked.
It might be rude of me to think so, since I was the one who had asked him, but why had he turned his opinion around after that statement just now…? I was somewhat curious as to whether my words held that much credibility, but could it have been that the turning point was the matter that had caused a misunderstanding between Nika-sama and me? Had it possibly had an effect…?
I wondered why I felt restless, even though I had already heard the answers that I wanted to hear. As expected, no matter how gentle Nika-sama was, he was a disturbing element to my commoner life. I needed to do something to keep him away. I had tried to persuade him against his previous actions of visiting a commoner, but he convinced me with splendid speech about “interacting with a childhood friend and commoners” or “market investigations.” Ha~h.
The two guards behind Nika-sama, could you guys stop being so non-existent and do your job properly?