“What you’re saying is laughable.”
Just like the symbol of the Rosenberg house, it was a beautiful but thorny voice akin to a rose. Having been pierced by her crimson glare, the followers inadvertently swallowed their saliva.
“For a while now, you’ve been the ones that have been interrupting the conversations of his highness and myself, your superiors. So for you to blather on to Cyril like it was common sense… what a joke.”
“In the first place, that butler–”
The followers tried to refute her, but my lady’s gaze only grew a degree colder in response.
“Shut up. Did Cyril not only do so because he was prepared to accept the reprimands for his actions?”
‘Your lack of tact puts you as his inferior.’ My lady’s biting sarcasm was definitely transmitted to them. Their faces started twitching at her answer.
“So it’s considered rude for low-ranking people to interfere with the conversations of those above them? I agree. You aren’t even worthy of speaking to my butler– so leave already, you insolent swines.”
“U-urgh… damn it!”
“Y-you-! What’s with that self-important attitude?! All you needed to do was shut up and listen!”
Having lost their temper, the two forgot about me in their anger and drew in closer to my lady.
I don’t think they were going to harm her. At the very least, they shouldn’t have lost themselves to that degree. However– I didn’t care.
At the same time they closed in, I broke in front of my lady.
“Out of my way!”
One of the followers– Jircliffe tried to punch me, so I grabbed his arm and threw him away like the trash he was. Then, I turned to deal with the approaching Surge– but he was already sprawled across the ground.
I directed my line of sight towards the beautiful culprit.
“…my lady, that’s supposed to be my job.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
She definitely wasn’t, and with an innocent smile, my lady then turned to the second prince.
“Your highness, may I borrow your attendants for a moment?”
“…eh? Ah, sure.”
“Thank you. Now then– you there, these people raised their hands against the daughter of a Marquis, take them.”
The guards detained Jircliffe and Surge. Of course they resisted, but the subordinates dragged them away like loyal servants ordered by the queen herself.
Now except for a few other guards and myself, all that remained was my lady and the prince. This was the scenario we were originally hoping for. It was the only chance we’d have to convey the truth to him.
When I looked at her, she nodded in response and turned towards him.
“Your highness Alforth, you are still young and pure, but you need to be aware of your position.”
“My position? What are you saying?”
The second prince replied with both confusion and nervousness. He honestly didn’t know anything. He truly was just a child as immature as one his age would normally be.
“Currently, to the elitist faction that looks down on the commoners– they consider you to be their leader.”
“Eh, really? I never said anything like that before, so why…”
“That’s because you didn’t do anything about their actions, your highness. To take a position of acquiesce is essentially the same as you approving of their ideals.”
“…that can’t be. I was told that I shouldn’t deny my servants just because I had a different opinion. I just followed what I was taught…”
Everyone who heard those words gasped.
His confession was practically proof that his sense of values had been distorted by someone.
“…who taught you that?”
“My educator. When I talked to him about Jircliffe and Surge, that’s what he told me. If I just rejected the opinions of others– everyone would grow to hate me.”
When the prince said that, he sent a glance over to Lady Sophia.
I expected something like this. Just like when he asked me for consultation, I wonder if he went around to others inquiring about what he should do to get her to like him. As a result, a malicious person took advantage of his feelings and manipulated him.
Having heard his story, my lady turned towards the prince’s guards.
“Did you know about this?”
“Not in the slightest! This is the first time we’ve ever heard of such a thing! We’ve received reports before that the educator was trying to correct his highness’ biased thoughts, but…”
The subordinates’ faces were full of regret at the realisation that the reports the educator sent in were falsified.
Their job was to protect the second prince from his enemies.
But they probably never considered that threats were among them.
“Then, are you going to do something about this?”
“Yes, of course we will. We are truly sorry.”
“I’m not the one you should be apologising to. Turn this stigma into the driving force that will help you protect his highness from now on.”
“Understood! We will report this to his majesty and deal with this immediately!”
At their invigorated response, Lady Sophia happily nodded. At this moment, she had unquestionably dominated the surroundings. Even the prince’s guards were hanging on to her every word.
My lady… you have grown splendidly.
“Now then… your highness. Thank you for showing me this wonderful rose garden today. I think this is enough though– so Cyril, let’s go home.”
“Yes, my lady.”
I thanked his highness and his servants one last time, before following the girl who had grown far more than I had realised.
–After returning from the castle.
We were currently in my lady’s private quarters in the mansion.
“AHHHHHHHH!!! How could I do something like that?!”
My lady was rolling around on her bed in a dress. The version of her that had bloomed beautifully in the rose garden seems to have disappeared now that she was home.
“Please calm down, my lady. This is unbecoming of you.”
“B-but I’m the one who ended up stepping out of line by taking that attitude towards his highness. What am I supposed to do if this ends up causing problems for you or father, Cyril?!”
“Lady Sophia, since the ones who were supposed to chide him for his mistakes stayed silent, it wasn’t wrong of you to reprimand him as the second-highest ranked person there.”
“…do you really think so? Can you look into my eyes and tell me I didn’t go too far?”
My lady who was rolling around on the bed turned up towards me. It was too much, and I ended up diverting my gaze from her.
“Ah, you looked away.”
“M-my apologies. That rare gesture of yours was just so cute that I couldn’t take it, my lady.”
“Wha–?! G-geez, aren’t you just saying that because you’re trying to deceive me?”
“Not in the slightest. I definitely think you went too far in some aspects, but I truly believe you did the right thing.”
“Cyril, you were the one that taught me that just because something is right, doesn’t mean it’s the best action to take.”
While the second prince’s verbal slip-up was the beginning of the incident, he hadn’t been keeping his followers remarks in check for a while. Therefore, Lady Sophia was forced to bear the brunt of everything before the eventual snap.
But to admit that my lady was in the right would be to acknowledge the second prince’s failure. It wasn’t uncommon for those in power to cover-up their blunders while imposing their sins on others.
This was the same reason as to why Unnamed was exiled.
However, I would never allow my lady to end up like him.
I had already made moves to ensure that.
“You don’t need to worry. I will definitely protect you.”
“…Cyril? Are you thinking of something unreasonable? I won’t forgive you if you’re planning to sacrifice yourself for me.”
“No, I wouldn’t consider such a thing.”
“You’re lying. If you really didn’t, you wouldn’t have spoken up back then.”
“That was… because I knew I had a chance to succeed.”
I had some expectations as to how I’d be punished. Since the guards were troubled by the second prince’s actions as well, I decided that if I intervened, they would determine my interruption to be reasonable considering the circumstances.
…well, there’s no way I could’ve predicted my lady’s outburst though.
When I explained my reasoning, my lady depressingly said, “so I did something needless after all…”
“No, your actions weren’t unnecessary in the least.”
These words were my true feelings.
However, my lady still seemed to regret taking an attitude unfitting of a Marquis’ daughter in front of the prince and was now sulking.
I pondered this for a while before suggesting a change of pace.
“A change of pace?”
“Yes. I’ll brew some tea for you, so why don’t you wait in the courtyard for a bit?”
I then left the room without explaining my intentions.
After finishing my preparations, I moved to the courtyard with a tea cart. While enveloped by the sunlight that shone through the treetops, my lady was sitting at the table there.
“Thank you for waiting, my lady.”
I placed the tea and sweets in front of my lady before adding a red rose. She made a slightly complicated expression at the sight.
“I’m sorry if this makes you feel uncomfortable, but the rose is the symbol of your family. I didn’t want you to grow to hate them.”
“…Cyril, did you raise this one?”
“Yes. That’s a flower I nurtured in the greenhouse.”
After picking up the rose, my lady gracefully brought it up to her face.
“…it smells really nice, and there’s no thorns either.”
“I would never hand you one with thorns.”
“Well, I know you wouldn’t.”
For the first time since she came home, Lady Sophia smiled normally.
“I think you’re far more lovely when you’re smiling like that, my lady.”
“I’ll say it again. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
I sent a signal to the maid who was on standby some distance away. Then Emma and Roy respectively dressed as servants appeared.
They’ve been practicing manners this entire time, but this was the first time that they’ve appeared before my lady since that day.
“Oh… it’s you. It’s been a while. How is it? Are you being inconvenienced in any way?”
“N-not at all. Thanks to you, my sister and I are fine.”
“T-thank you so much for your help at that time.”
The two nervously bowed to her in gratitude.
They were still a bit rough around the edges, but it was amazing progress when considering how they were living just a few months ago. Perhaps they’ve been working their hardest to make it up to my lady.
The maid who easily praises others said it was thanks to me for some reason. Well, I’ll tell the chef later to prepare some treats for them as a reward later.
“I’ll do my best to be of service to you, my lady.”
“My brother and I might still be immature, but we’ll try our hardest.”
While I was still lost in thought, their words of gratitude continued.
They were definitely awkward, but it’s because they were so awkward that their sincerity really shone through. Lady Sophia narrowed her eyes and replied, “I’m looking forward to it.”
After that, the two of them left because it was time for their etiquette lesson, and as we saw them off, I said, “it’s because of your actions that they can smile now, my lady.”
“As a daughter of a Marquis, what you did certainly can’t be praised, but even so, you still saved them of your own choice.”
“Yes, and it’s the same with this recent incident as well. Your actions may have been too much for someone of your position, but there are many who will be saved by them as a result. I’m one of those people, and that’s why–”
I placed my hand on her cheek and brought my lips to her opposite ear.
“I’m proud of you, my lady.”
My lady shuddered when I whispered to her my thoughts. After I let go of her and pulled back, she was faintly blushing.
Inside of her clear purple eyes, my figure was reflected in them.
“G-give me a moment! I need to prepare myself first… err, umm… Yes, this should be fine. W-what now? Should I close my eyes?”
“It seems a messenger has come.”
Her slightly moist pupils suddenly opened wide.
My lady quickly jumped away from me in a hurry, and right after, a servant appeared sprinting towards her while short of breath.
“A messenger from his majesty arrived and has summoned Lady Sophia to the castle immediately!”
Written by Scarlet Rain (緋色の雨)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com