“Well, it’s my turn now.”
Mel-chan, who started off with simple questions, glared at me with his cute face and crimson eyes.
“You were hiding your ability, right? Why?”
At that moment, my pulse quickened, and I grew cold. Even so, I still maintained my normal composure.
I had to keep calm, even in a pinch. If I let myself get pulled into his pace, I would lose. I shouldn’t back down just because the opponent was above me in status and intelligence.
It was okay, since it wouldn’t be a problem even if he found out about the truth. I wouldn’t falter, since it was impossible for him to learn about my past life.
“I don’t understand that vague question. Could you please clarify?”
“Alright… I’ve spoken with all of your past tutors. Ever since you were a child, you seemed to have been superior to most children, and that was quite peculiar.”
Mel-chan crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes like he was observing my reactions carefully, not wanting to miss a single thing.
…Ah, darn it. Public transportation was difficult in this world, and there was no such thing as a family register, so it was much harder to find people here than in my past life.
That was why I didn’t see that coming. I never thought that he could investigate my childhood without caring about the expenses… I was so proud to have remained unnoticed by anyone, but to think that I was exposed just like that.
“You excelled in many subjects during your childhood. To list some, they were mathematics and language arts. However, you were too skilled, so the tutor, who was employed to teach a baby, wasn’t able to teach you. That was why the Suwarose family hired a new tutor who excelled in his studies. After that, you stumbled in your studies, even though you were gifted in the subjects.”
“Putting aside how things began, it’s normal to stumble, right?”
“Yes. Yes, it is.”
Mel-chan readily affirmed the words that I had been denying and glared at me with his crimson eyes.
“But, when I first heard of it, I started to think that you were attempting to make yourself ‘normal’.”
I had a bad feeling. I might’ve taken Mel-chan too lightly.
“I talked to your first tutor. At the time, she made you answer trial questions to see how much you knew…. You must’ve been troubled by it since you didn’t know at what point ‘normal’ was, and performed too well on a variety of subjects. After that, you then learned what ‘normal’ was and attempted to gradually sink into being ‘normal.’”
Mel-chan’s detective-like story had no basis, but everything he said was true. Other than the fact that he didn’t know about my motives, I could give him a hanamaru.
(TL: [Hanamaru = Flower Circle] is something like a Gold Star on a child’s work)
It was because I didn’t know that knowledge standards were lower than back in my old world. There was no way that a game that focused on a romance story would have detailed descriptions on the level of knowledge that people had in this world.
In addition, if I acted too stupidly, I would’ve been harshly scolded by my parents. That was why I had answered with the common sense I had acquired in my past life, while thinking about what a normal child at my age should know.
After that, I noticed my mistake from my tutor’s reaction and, like Mel-chan had said, I tried to adjust. I made myself ‘normal’, and I did it at a pace that nobody involved would’ve noticed. Slowly, little by little.
“That was why your grades at the academy were all at least average. You made it so that you wouldn’t be in trouble, nor would you stand out.”
How did he find out about my grades at the academy? Grades weren’t publicized there. The power of connections and money was quite strong, huh.
… Even Nika-sama didn’t deny that my abilities were only slightly better than an average person’s. Mel-chan’s inquisitiveness was amazing. Thanks to that, my composure had begun to crack. Today, I might end up sleeping like I was stuck in mud.
“I’ll ask my question again. Why did you go through that change to hide your abilities?”
I mulled over my thoughts, deciding which parts of the truth to reveal and which parts to concede for now.
“I didn’t want to raise my parents’ expectations.”
That was certainly the truth.
“You know that I was practically under house arrest, right? I was simply a tool to my parents. If they thought that I had no use, I’d either be beaten or thrown away. However, if I was too useful, I’d be used to the fullest extent and would have became a machine. To protect myself, I could only stay as someone who was somewhat useful.”
I was someone with minimal utility, and therefore, I became a commoner. If I were too useful, I wouldn’t be thrown out. If I couldn’t be used at all, I’d be discarded in the middle of my dreams and plans, or thrown out even before the dissolution of my engagement.
I realized that, in order to know what level was perfect, I had to look at Liliana from Lady Ro.
“If I didn’t hide my abilities, I might’ve been a successful person, but greatness wasn’t what I desired.”
I wanted to become a commoner, just that.
“… I predicted most of that. But, there is a contradiction in your story, did you realize that?”
“Is that so? If you think that I’ve lied and violated the oath, it’ll become troublesome, so even if it’s out of turn, I’ll quickly answer another question of yours.”
I said that I didn’t want to be thrown out, but according to what I had said during the first question about the dissolution of my engagement, everyone became happy. Even though I was thrown out, I said that I was happy. This must’ve been what he thought was the contradiction.
“I didn’t feel unhappy to be thrown out but—there are a lot of ways to be thrown out, right? Burnable trash, non-burnable trash, unlawful dumping, and giving away to somebody. I didn’t want to be thrown away in a detestable way, nor did I want to be broken. That was why I was happy with the flow of events from the dissolution of my engagement up to now. There is no lie there.”
For now, Mel-chan agreed and nodded with a strained expression.
“By the way, I’m only asking out of curiosity but in which way do you think you were disposed?”
“How…? Hmm, let’s see… non-burnable trash, I guess? I wasn’t burned, nor was I illegally dumped. I was even supported financially and wasn’t sent to anyone. They probably didn’t think that the trash wasn’t eventually going to the dump, but life’s just fine.”
Rather, I was even paid. I thought I was more like an oversized piece of trash, but the concept of an excessively large piece of garbage didn’t exist in this world.
… Well then, Mel-chan’s second question had been answered. Fuu, my insides had cooled a bit.
(TL: “my insides have cooled a bit” meaning, like she had just “dodged a bullet”)
To be honest, I should’ve already finished asking what I wanted to know.
I had predicted this meeting before my engagement with the Ore-sama Prince ended, and only had two questions. How did others view Lily-chan, and what was her current position. That was all.
That was because, if I knew about those things, then I would understand how much it had affected the world of Lady Ro. In the case that the scenario had changed completely, I would need to run far away.
However, from what I had heard, there were only small issues. The outline of the story had yet to change.
Lily-chan was magnificently advancing on the path of becoming the Queen, just like she would have in the game when Lady Rose chose a character other than the Ore-sama Prince.
I couldn’t really accept the fact that they thought that I was planning a rebellion, but if I lived my commoner life earnestly, I believed that there would be no problems. If Nika-sama was keeping an eye on me, then that itself would prove my innocence.
… But, just to be safe, let’s use the bright and populated roads.
Well, unfortunately, the interrogation wasn’t finished yet, for there was bug that I couldn’t escape, so I would have to ask another question.
“This is the last question I have. Um, I was wondering if I should ask Melvin-sama such a thing but… if you know how my younger brother, Shade, is doing right now and how his life is, please tell me.”
Mel-chan looked at me with suspicion after I suddenly brought up this strange topic.
I seriously wanted to hear about how Shade was doing right now, after the surprising yandere flag development.
“… Not Nicholas-sama?”
Due to those unexpected words, a question mark started to dance above my head.
Why Nika-sama? Was there something about Nika-sama that intrigued Mel-chan?
From my point of view, it was true that I should be curious about the movements of the genius royal, Nika-sama, who disliked Lily-chan. However, Nika-sama promised me that he would look out for Lily-chan, so there wasn’t a need for that. Lily-chan’s friends were also my friends.
Even if you took away my experience with Lady Ro, I had spent over a decade getting to know him. He was someone who always stuck to his words.
The expression on Mel-chan’s face showed that he was confused, but he started to answer the question anyway.
“Shade Suwarose… When I was investigating you, I certainly did investigate him as well, but… he seems to have a strong respect and inferiority complex directed towards you.”
Aah, yeah. That was just like the original story. He must have held such feelings towards his brilliant step-sister, who was called the “Perfect Lady.”
That expressionless face and voice were set that way to hide the unnecessary feelings he had for his stepsister.
“Recently, his flirty attitude has reduced quite a bit, and he sometimes changes his expressions. It seems that sometimes, when he is lost in his own thoughts, he puts on a shy expression, as if he is thinking of something quite shameful. That seems to be popular with the girls, though.”
… That means, that’s uhm… what does that mean? Let’s think for a bit.
The other day, due to my hasty but effective bread throwing, Shade had realized that I wasn’t some great person who deserved so much respect that he had to develop an inferiority complex. Shade realized that, surprisingly, I wasn’t as amazing of a person as he had believed. He probably remembered me with great shame and bitterness whenever he thought of the old days, while telling himself to face forward and get a hold of himself, since he was the next successor of the House Suwarose.
…Was that too optimistic? I didn’t think that there were any contradictions.
“There’s no particular problem with his studies and friends, so there’s not much to discuss about him. Well, all I can say is that he’s doing fine?”
… There wasn’t anything out of place? That was it?
Eh? That was the end of Shade’s route? Really? I completely crushed the flag with a single piece of bread?!
Bread is amazing!!
“… You look happy, huh.”
“It’s a beautiful love between siblings. It’s fine for you to cry, you know?”
“I’m not going to cry.”
Mel-chan wasn’t easily influenced by the pace of others, huh.
On that topic, the guards following Mel-chan, as well…it’s okay for you to show a more pleasant expression, you know.