From the beginning, I had thought that as long as I became a commoner, everything would be fine. I didn’t wish for something too optimistic, after all.
The first step was putting forth the effort to become a commoner. The second step was breaking off the engagement and getting exiled. Of course, I was very happy to have come this far. It was a big deal.
However, the third step was to protect my status as a commoner. If I couldn’t do this, then there was no point in everything else.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t thought of any means to do that.
It had been twelve days since Nika-sama, who had visited almost every week, had come.
I made a cute friend, Nana-chan (although I didn’t have permission to call her that yet), and today, I was working happily in the bakery, as always.
It was almost time for the store to close, but a carriage stopped in front of the bakery.
A week and five days…the amount of time that had passed since Nika-sama last visited was well within the margin of error, as far as that margin could go, but as promised, this must have had something to do with verifying the status of Lily-chan’s relationship.
“My, isn’t that nice, Fii-chan? The store is fine now, so please go and hurry over to Nika-kun.”
Michelle-san skillfully drove me out of the shop, saying “Yes, yes,” before I could even object. It appeared that she had no intention of letting Nika-sama buy the leftover bread either. Nika-sama really liked the bread, so he might get disappointed instead.
Even though Nika-sama was royalty, she still called him “Nika-kun”…and Nika-sama himself said that it was fine, so while I thought that it was a bit too friendly, it was probably okay.
“If you’re this cold-hearted, you will regret it when he gives up!”
Michelle-san went back into the store, leaving me with one last word of advice. I was pretty fine with him not being fond of me, though. I smiled bitterly and looked at the person inside the carriage.
I suddenly felt uneasy at the sight of the carriage. It wasn’t the one that Nika-sama rode on.
As soon as the thought crossed my mind, the person in the carriage got off. He wasn’t Nika-sama.
He jumped off the carriage in a manner that would have made you think that he wasn’t a noble who rode a horse-drawn carriage. When he saw me, his expression relaxed.
His hair was an extremely light gold. In other words, it was platinum blond. This hair colour was very rare, but his dark crimson eyes were even rarer. He also had white skin.
Judging by his appearance, I, who held memories of my past life, could only think that he was albino or had a skin pigmentation deficiency. Although red eyes were rare in that other world, in this world, there were many people who also had them.
There was no such thing as “normal” in this world, like how brown and black hair were treated in my past life. This meant that his albinism was just a coincidence.
Perhaps because this was another world, the structure of human DNA was different. Maybe the humans here were like the nuns from my past life, who were similar on the outside but totally different within. It seemed that research on the human body here was mostly limited to medical research. Even if it was being studied, I didn’t know much about the structure of human DNA, so I wouldn’t know what was different.
In the first place, there was no doubt that this was a twisted dimension based off of a game I knew, so it was wiser to turn a blind eye to this small mystery and move on. Everyone looked like foreigners but spoke and wrote in the Japanese language. The culture was a mix of Japanese, former Western countries, and elements of fantasy. There would be no end to it if I worried about it.
Yes, let’s take a deep breath, calm down, and stop questioning the world’s mysteries. The person standing before me was a bishounen, who looked like a bishoujo, named Melvin Kurapito. Until around half a month ago, we were in the same school and the same grade, but the conversations I’ve had with him were all polite and formal.
However, that person was one of the capture targets in Lady Ro, nicknamed “Mel-chan.”
(TL: bishounen = handsome youth. Bishoujo = beautiful girl)
“Good evening, Lady Rose.”
“Good evening, Melvin-sama.”
(TL: They use “Konbanwa”)
We exchanged greetings, but since this wasn’t a formal occasion, we didn’t have to say, “Gokigenyo.” Although I was a commoner now, I should still practice common courtesy, or it would be impolite not to.
(TL: A formal way of saying “How do you do?”)
I suggested that we walk while talking, like I did with Nika-sama, in order to not cause trouble for the shop. Mel-chan readily agreed and left his three guards behind as he walked beside me.
When I took a glimpse back, I could tell that the three guards were wary of me, unlike Nika-sama’s two guards, who abandoned their posts. Yes, this was how guards should be like. I’m cheering for you guys.
“I can’t believe that you, Lady Rose, really became a commoner. I had a feeling that it was something interesting and ran out without thinking.”
“My, my… I can only imagine what your subordinates must be going through.”
“Hehe, I can’t say anything about that. Well, that aside, Lady Rose, I thought you were a high-ranking lady, but you don’t seem to be disturbed by this at all?”
“If I showed any distress, I would only be moving according to my opponent’s pace.”
Nonetheless, I was not particularly surprised that Mel-chan had visited me this time. After all, at the age of four, I had already expected that Mel-chan would one day visit me and added it to the tasks in my plans to become a commoner. Rather, I was waiting for it. Even though Shade was only my step-brother, he was still my brother, and Nika-sama, who was my childhood friend, probably used the power of the royal family or something in order to track down my location. Setting those unexpected people aside, I believed that if I continued to stay here, he would definitely find me, even though we didn’t have any sort of connection.
Melvin Kurapito, the heir of Duke Kurapito, was in charge of running the banks in the country. He was also called the “Ear” because he commanded a large amount of interesting information, collected by his secret operatives from both inside and outside of the country.
Mel-chan only had eyes for things that interested him. If those cases involved people, he would leap at the opportunity with blazing eyes. For the sake of finding that pleasure, he spent most of his time outside of his job and the Kurapito House.
After hearing about how the duke’s perfect daughter, Lady Rose, had bullied a girl, gotten her engagement annulled, and left with her whereabouts unknown, he surely would have investigated to satisfy his curiosity, and eventually found me living normally as a commoner––He definitely would have rushed here after what he had discovered.
“Hey, how could the Lady Rose of Duke Suwarose’s Family, who has been sheltered all her life, be living happily, without complaint, as a commoner? You haven’t even touched the consolation money that your parents gave you, right?”
“You spent your time examining a person’s bank account?”
“Yes, I wanted to know.”
He had investigated well. There wasn’t a problem with him knowing, so it was okay.
Certainly, I had not withdrawn the consolation money from the Kurapito Bank. It simply wasn’t necessary. I was just lucky, though.
It was because Michelle-san had the wonderful condition of immediate payment for long-term employment that I was able to live my commoner life in the best conditions from the very first day. Truthfully, I thought that I would have to pay back the money with added interest later once I had withdrawn some, but since I didn’t need to, I left it alone. The last thing that I received from them was the house I had now. I didn’t want to be in debt and trip my family up later.
(TL: means “foul play”)
By the way, the consolation money wasn’t something I received after deceiving my parents during my childhood before the annulment. Although it would have been helpful…the risks were too high, so I gave up on the idea. I had feared that my family would find me useful and annul my engagement to the prince without letting the exile part play out.
If there was another problem with me being a commoner, it was my family background. Since the concept of a family register did not exist in this world, in cases when self-identification was required, family members, relatives, and friends were needed for verification. That was why I did not need to create a new family background. I just had to build up the trust level from zero. This would be difficult to pull off, no matter what world you were living in.
Honestly, human relationships were like gambling. There was no shield or escape. I was lucky to have met Michelle-san and all the other good people of this town. After all, depending on the security, it wouldn’t have been strange for them to want to kill me, who was dressed like a noble, for money or revenge.
“It would have been easier to just buy the information. Ah, since you are a commoner, should I just buy the person in question?”
“Human trafficking is against the Slavery Law. There are some aristocrats who manage to slip through, but…in the financial industry, trust is trust. Will the successor of the Kurapito house gamble for a single person?”
“I give up. Threats don’t work, and you have both intelligence and courage…hehe, how interesting.”
Mel-chan happily smiled, like he was having fun. This easy, innocent smile was popular with the Lady Ro fans. Mel-chan just wanted to know and bore no ill will. Since I knew that he was just curious, I didn’t have to be extremely cautious.
“I also don’t understand why Lady Rose would bully Lilliana Inoshi. I mean, even if you didn’t, you would still win overall, right? No matter how you looked at it, wouldn’t this be stupid when you could have had an easier time?”
“You cannot judge a person by physical appearances alone.”
“Yes! That’s right. I understand now! This is why I wanted to know about people’s thoughts!”
I smiled and walked elegantly, not being pulled in by Mel-chan, who was in high spirits. Though I had a cotton V-necked shirt and a pair of women’s working pants on, this was everyday clothing by commoner standards, so it was alright.
Mel-chan looked at me, who was always at my own pace, and his mood suddenly fell. He finally sighed.
“I give up. This is the first time I’ve ever met such an interesting person, but I don’t think I could extract a story.”
“Well, I’m honored by your words, Melvin-sama.”
“…Oi, don’t tease me. I came here after investigating your case. After investigating Liliana’s case, I found something interesting that only deepened the mystery. I investigated more, thinking that I could solve it, but I discovered even more interesting things. Even though this only serves to deepen the mystery. Although it was quite interesting, I was already helplessly full of mysteries.”
Mel-chan look up to the sky, exhausted. Based on how Mel-chan found this place after investigating the bullying case with Lily-chan and my annulment, I realized the abnormality that I was no longer troubled by my identity as a former noble in my life as a commoner. That alone was enough reason for Mel-chan to come. Although…his words suggested that he was still investigating this. I didn’t know how accurate his information about me was, or how many mysteries were left unanswered. I personally didn’t plan to have a weird life. Well, whatever, I had already planned everything that I needed to say, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
“It seems like you have taken a horrible detour. Thank you for your hard work. If you wanted to draw out some information from me, there is an easier way.”
I was no longer an aristocrat, and neither did I want to return to being one. Still, back then and even now, acting as Lady Rose was easy. With Shade, I moved without thinking because it was so unexpected, but now, I was ready and could do much better, since I was used to it. I narrowed my eyes and curled my lips into a smile, opening my mouth as if to intimidate him.
“Melvin-sama, let’s make a deal.”
This was a critical moment.
Could I really defeat him? Could I really do it?
Could I win against fate?