Lady Rose Wants to be a Commoner – Chapter 21
The day after I became friends with Nika-sama and revealed the singular weakness of my life by worshipping Nana-chan, I returned to work full of vigor.
Michelle-san praised me for finally being able to tell when the bread was finished baking, which made me ecstatic. The following day, Nana-chan came to buy bread. Our chat about the different kinds of bread I recommended filled me with bliss. The day after that, the grocery uncle was in a good mood and sold his vegetables to me cheaply.
My days were peaceful, and continued to be so for a week.
I felt an vague sense of anxiety. It was natural to feel uneasy when things were suddenly going too smoothly.
Even though I said that, I felt like it was asking too much when I saw two very familiar people, people who should not have been here, head in my direction as I was walking home.
The two heads of vivid red and blue hair I saw from a distance made me ponder as soon as I noticed them… but their faces couldn’t be seen in the dim light of the street, so I had dismissed the suspicion from my mind. I never expected the two of them to appear here. When we were close enough that I couldn’t just turn around, I started to panic. I quickened my pace, pretending that I had seen nothing and that all of this was just a case of mistaken identity.
“Whoa, amazing! Look, Zero. That Lady Rose is really living like a commoner.”
“Isn’t that great, Noran-sama? The information wasn’t wrong.”
Just the fact that these two had come to this place without a carriage already told me that they had some sort of business with me. I already knew that much.
Unwillingly, I turned to face the two of them. The gray sanpaku eyes that were narrowed in amusement, as well as the deep-blue tareme eyes that were observing me from behind a pair of glasses, met with mine. I still hadn’t fully understood why this was happening, though.
(TL: Sanpaku = a white line under or above the iris is visible || tareme = droopy around the ends of the eyes)
“…I see, it’s Noran-sama, the neighboring country’s prince, and Zero-sama, his close aide. Why are the two of you here…?”
“Hehe, isn’t it obvious? We snuck out to play. To think that we would meet Lady Rose, who became a commoner. How lucky~.”
As if I could accept that sort of reason.
The chances of these two sneaking out from the neighboring country and randomly coming to this exact rustic neighborhood in the kingdom’s very outskirts were practically zero. Knowing their personalities…or rather, their natures, I only had bad premonitions. However, how had they known I was alive, and how did they locate me?
“You do know why we happened to come here, right?”
I smiled vaguely at Noran, whose friendly smile didn’t match his threatening voice.
I didn’t understand at all…I didn’t understand, but…was it possible that they had seen through my actions from when I was a child? The timing didn’t seem to suit this current situation, but it wasn’t impossible. Even so, I didn’t want to dig my own grave, so I didn’t confirm his words.
“As always, I can’t tell what you’re thinking. If you had been able to become Queen, you would have been a valuable national asset.”
Zero shrugged his shoulders but, as expected, he was watching my every move.
Also as expected, they were overestimating me. It was not strange, though, since the main character of the game had had that type of impression from these two.
These two were, unsurprisingly —or maybe, the better word was ‘also’ — Lady Ro’s capture targets. Although, to be more precise, Zero was a hidden character.
As mentioned earlier, Noran was the prince of the neighboring country. He had short red hair and grey sanpaku eyes. When he was quiet, he looked pretty intimidating, and he had a fairly domineering personality. At the same time, he always had an open smile and was someone both men and women could rely on. That made him a brother-like character, who no one thought of as scary…but that alone was not enough reason for me to be this agitated.
Zero was Noran’s aide and, for a man, had pretty, long, deep blue hair that was tied from behind. He wore frameless glasses over his deep blue eyes, and he looked like an intellectual. In reality, he was very smart and placed second, right after Nika-sama. He was the second genius character in LadyRo. Though Zero, unlike Nika-sama, didn’t use his intelligence to guide Noran to become a good king. Instead, he used it to support Noran in every way possible, no matter what it was.
Unexpectedly, after becoming a commoner, I had met all of the capture targets aside from the Ore-sama Prince. I was very unhappy.
“How nice, Zero. You may enjoy such wordplay, but I find doing things in such a roundabout way rather bothersome. We’ve been standing around talking, but I don’t feel like chatting for long. Just get to the point.”
“Please wait a moment.”
I stopped abruptly. Noran’s expression soured, indicating his displeasure, while the corners of Zero’s mouth rose up from amusement.
Nevertheless, even if these two had no problems letting bystanders hear this conversation, it didn’t mean that I was fine with it. Such a thing would certainly bring me problems.
“Let’s change locations. After all, you did sneak out to play. We’ll stand out chatting in a place like this, you know?”
When he heard me repeat their words from moments before, Noran looked at Zero with a dissatisfied expression, as if telling him to say something.
“That’s true. Though this is a friendly nation, it is not our country. If Noran-sama was found sneaking around, the outcome wouldn’t be amusing. It would turn into a scandal, and we would be reprimanded upon our return.”
“…It can’t be helped. Then, let’s go to your home.”
Cornered by Zero’s reply, Noran unwillingly agreed and impatiently pushed me to walk on from behind. I had no complaints. He might have invited himself to my house, but it did happen to be the most appropriate place for this. We were already halfway to my house, so we would arrive soon anyway.
…Even so, knowing the true intent behind Zero’s remark, and how Noran was captured after going through the game, I felt like cringing. Metaphorically.
“Incidentally, you’re surprisingly short, aren’t you? Weren’t you taller two years ago? Is a commoner’s life so hard that it made you shrink?”
Internally, I smiled wryly as Noran laughed, wondering what sort of reasoning he was using.
The last time I met these two was as the Ore-sama Prince’s fiancee at a social occasion, and I had been acting as the perfect Lady Rose. Back then, I had been walking around while flaunting a sparkly Lamé. When comparing that to my current status, it was natural that the air around me, as well as my perceived height, felt different.
(TL: Cloth made from gold/silver thread)
“It’s because I’m not wearing shoes with heels.”
“Ooohh, now that you mention it, you’re not wearing ornamented shoes, huh. Don’t you hate wearing such plain shoes?”
“They’re easy to move in once you get used to them. Functionality is important.”
“True, they’re definitely better than those uselessly high-heeled ones.”
Forgetting the feelings I had held onto to avoid my downfall, I smiled at Noran, who had greeted my words with an honest smile.
His words were very direct, but he was very broad-minded, and he listened to all opinions. Noran was my second favorite character in Lady Rose. Only in the game, though.
“Huh? Wait, did you cut your hair?”
Talking to him like this, I found Noran’s carefree attitude as a prince to be funny. As expected of somebody who didn’t know fear, he was able to say this kind of bombshell statement so straightforwardly, even though any other flirt would have made it irritating.
This statement would have made me hide my face in shame if I were any other noble-turned-commoner and didn’t have the memories of my past life. The present me didn’t care much about hair, but for a typical noble lady, long hair was both a symbol of beauty and an object of pride. Then again, a typical noble wouldn’t be able to live as a commoner to begin with.
“Yes, does it suit me?”
“It does. The aristocrat girls grow their hair out for useless reasons like tradition and vanity…but I prefer shorter hair.”
Noran smiled happily as he looked at my hair.
He probably fancied what the world called tomboys, huh. Of course, the main character of the game was a proper noble, unlike me. Her clothing and style choices would never have become this boyish.
“Hmm…you have the ability, and your appearance suits my tastes… Why don’t you become my woman?”
I felt his favorability rating drop suddenly as a result of those insensitive words.
Given that he was smiling at my reaction, it must have been a joke, and that was fine. However, it was an Ore-sama-like statement. For me, it was a NG. This time, it earned him a yellow card. If he were to ever say such a thing again, he was out.
The distinguishing line for the feeling of avoiding the Ore-sama type of character was probably if he treated me as a partner or not. It was okay if the man had a lot of confidence, but if he wanted to take away my freedom and treat me as a possession, like my brother had, my heart would automatically refuse.
I let those thoughts pass and hid my discomfort behind a smile.
“Please stop joking. Your position will not permit taking a neighboring country’s commoner as a wife, right?”
“It’s not impossible in the case of the former Lady Rose, right? …Even so, can’t your expression change for me? At least blush or something! How boring.”
“Noran-sama, you were dumped so completely. It’s amusing.”
“It can’t be helped, since it seems that Rose already has someone else in mind.”
Zero said something weird. I had someone else in mind? That was the first time I’d heard of this. Who? Nana-chan? Maybe Lily-chan?
…That aside, in the past, I had loved the in-game conversations between these two, but not anymore. Not when the conversation was about me in reality. I didn’t have the time to be flustered, though. Why had I reincarnated into the game I had loved? If there was at least someone else sharing my fate, we could share experiences, and we could have gotten excited together. Sadly, up to the time that I had my engagement annulled, there had not been anyone who had acted differently from the game or who interfered in a strange manner. I had already given up on that possibility.
Slowly, as my beloved home came into view, I brushed away my daydreams and immediately focused my mind.