“C-cyril, w-w-what should I do?!”
“Please calm down, my lady. Did the messenger not say this talk would be confidential? Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem like something you can unilaterally reject.”
My lady was distraught over how she was called by the king. The fact that not her parents, but she herself was summoned was what rattled her.
It would still be a problem if her parents were called, but having a child summoned was unprecedented. For something like this to happen, there must be unusual circumstances behind it.
However, this wasn’t a forced summons, the fact that they sent a messenger could even be considered an act of consideration. His majesty wanted to keep this a secret, so the worst shouldn’t happen.
Though no matter how much my lady has grown, this was undoubtedly an overwhelming experience. It wasn’t unreasonable for her to be rattled by this unexpected development.
“It’ll be okay, my lady. Should anything happen, I will protect you even at the cost of my life.”
Seeing her so anxious, those words just naturally left my mouth.
Back when I first realised I was reincarnated, all I wanted was to save the villainous daughter I was fond of while escaping the execution end– so this surprised me, I thought my feelings for her would’ve been lighter than this.
“…thanks Cyril, but I don’t want you to be risking your life for me. That’s why I’ll also work my hardest, so before anything else… I need to contact father.”
Straightening her back, she then began pondering what to do and what actions to take.
At this moment, my lady took yet another step towards adulthood. I felt pride well up inside of me at the sight of her being strong not for herself, but for others.
Incidentally, the meeting with the king was set for early tomorrow morning.
The messenger proposed to meet as soon as possible, but we were able to delay it a bit by saying she needed to inform her parents of this first.
It’s impossible to make a round trip to the Rosenberg territory in only a day, but fortunately, the Marquis was currently working in the capital, so as long as we had half of one, we’d be able to reach him.
That’s why in accordance to my lady’s orders, I sent a letter explaining the situation to the master. To which my father– the lord’s exclusive butler, sent back a reply telling me to deal with it.
I couldn’t understand this.
Its true, when looking at the big picture, the problem really wasn’t that big. It was just a fight between children after all. Execution was highly unlikely.
What happened was completely different from the felony my lady ordered me to commit in the game.
Therefore, even if she makes a mistake during the audience, she’ll only incur the other party’s disapproval at most.
But we’re talking about the king of this country here. My father and the master surely know that obtaining his resentment will be detrimental to her future.
Even if my lady was the one personally called, it wouldn’t be odd at all for a minor to be accompanied by their guardian, so for the Marquis to not be there with her was completely unreasonable.
As I pondered that, I realised there was more to the letter.
It seems my lady made some sort of deal with her father, and due to that arrangement, it would be desirable if I were the one to resolve this issue.
A deal… I wonder what it was.
My lady has never mentioned such a thing before.
It felt a little lonely, but it’s only natural that she’d have a few secrets of her own. If it was something that I should know, she’d tell me, and now wasn’t the time to worry about that anyways.
More problematic than that was what was written after.
Because my lady was so mature for her age, there seemed to be suspicions that the master was pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
It appears that it would be better to deal with this ourselves in order to dispel these skepticisms.
On top of that, provocations were written that said if I couldn’t even cope with something of this level, how could I continue to stay by my lady’s side. They worked, because that’s where I drew the line.
I told Lady Sophia her father’s reply and we discussed how to respond to it.
The next morning we traveled to the royal castle by carriage.
This time we actually entered the keep itself, not the courtyard.
After being checked at the entrance, we walked down a deep red carpet inside, and once we finally arrived at the waiting room, professor Tristan was there for some reason.
“…professor, why are you here?”
“I became a teacher at my master’s orders, but essentially I’m still a butler.”
That answer still didn’t explain why he was here now of all times. There seemed to be something behind this, but he went on to say, “his majesty will see you now” before I could ask.
“Understood. Then let’s go.”
Lady Sophia sent a glance my way, but professor Tristan shook his head. Apparently, what they were about to discuss was so confidential that not even her exclusive butler could know.
This was something she definitely didn’t expect. Now knowing that she’d have to deal with this situation without me by her side, my lady looked like she was about to cry.
Her eyes shaking with anxiety were pleading for me to come with her. She then began raising one of her hands as if to grab me– but then quickly pressed it down with the other.
That sight filled me with countless unspoken emotions.
Compared to when we first met, the young lady I raised has grown so strong since then.
By herself, she can go anywhere, do anything, even without me.
But it was still my job to protect her. Even if my lady can do something alone, I will continue to fulfill my role until the day she says that my services are no longer required.
And that’s why– I gave her a certain report.
“It’s a good luck charm. To protect you.”
My lady gasped after looking through its contents. Clasping it in her hands, she then took a deep breath before smiling like a blossoming rose.
“…thanks, Cyril. I’ll make sure to end everything here.”
“I know you will. The best of luck to you, my lady.”
After my lady left for her audience with the king, only professor Tristan and I remained.
The large waiting room built for nobles was enveloped in a heavy silence.
…he was simply standing in one of the room’s corners, not paying any attention to me in the slightest. I was grateful for that, I didn’t need anything in addition to how worried I was.
I passed Lady Sophia my trump card as a protective charm, so I knew that the worst-case scenario would be avoided. However, I didn’t like the idea of her facing his majesty alone with that small body of hers.
“Hmm… so even you get nervous.”
“Isn’t that only natural when my lady has been summoned by the king?”
When I said that, professor Tristan seemed surprised for some reason.
“Wait, weren’t you the one pulling the strings behind this situation?”
I’ve heard that the Marquis was suspected of orchestrating this incident, but this is the first time I’ve been questioned of doing so. In the first place, I was only a twelve year old child, the same as my lady. Normally, such an idea never should’ve appeared.
However, professor Tristan was my uncle. Once I considered the connection he had with the Rosenberg house, it wasn’t unreasonable for him to know that I was Lady Sophia’s teacher.
With that, on top of how he also knew of my grades as my homeroom teacher, it’s no wonder he doubted me.
“It’s my job to fulfill my lady’s desires, not to influence her will. Why would you ask that?”
“Oh, I just heard a few things… if you hadn’t picked a fight, you wouldn’t be having such a hard time right now.”
He still seemed to be misunderstanding something.
While I pondered how to correct his misconception, he asked, “Backtracking a bit, do you think that young lady will be found at fault for this event?”
“There’s definitely a possibility.”
The cause of this whole situation was undoubtedly the prince’s verbal slip-up. The way my lady and I acted back then didn’t help either, but compared to how the followers tarnished the prince’s dignity, what we did was trivial.
Therefore, the behaviour we took then shouldn’t be a problem.
However, to accept that my lady was in the right also meant to admit the prince’s faux pas. Considering the circumstances, there was a good chance they’d shift the blame onto her.
Professor Tristan said that in a gentle tone.
“His majesty isn’t going to blame my lady?”
“If we’re only speaking about results, his majesty is–”
He suddenly grew quiet.
From outside of the room, I could hear the exchange of, “your highness, the waiting room is currently–” “I know, Cyril is there, right?” taking place.
Soon after, the door was knocked, before a voice saying, “Cyril? It’s Alforth” resounded out.
“–your highness, did you need something?”
Professor Tristan opened the door and answered him.
“I want to talk with Cyril… can you give us a moment?”
Even putting everything that happened at the rose garden aside, having the prince personally visit a servant like myself was insane. Normally, he’d call me to visit him.
However, the professor didn’t fight against it. Probably because the prince was making a serious face completely unlike anything he’s ever seen before.
“Cyril, can you hear his highness out?”
“…if that’s okay.”
Now that it was a formal request made through professor Tristan, I accepted.
This greatly reduced the chance that I’d be convicted of overstepping my position. It was probably his way of showing consideration for me.
If this really was the case, then I’ll sit down as the prince’s conversation partner, not a butler.
Professor Tristan– a teacher, brewed tea as a butler, while I sat down facing the second prince despite being a normal student. It was a very chaotic situation, but I’ll put whether the prince was aware of this or not aside.
“Cyril, you were the one who advised me at that time, so I want to consult you again. Why was Sophia angry with me?”
Apparently, he was worried about how the party he welcomed with good intentions lost their temper. I think it’s great that he had a sense of crisis, but I still didn’t understand why he had to ask me about this.
“It’s true that my lady was angry, but it was the sons of the Count that drove her to that point. She didn’t feel that way about you, your highness.”
What she felt for him was probably disappointment instead of anger– of course, I didn’t say this out loud. That was beyond what I was allowed to say as my lady’s servant.
“On my name, I swear that it isn’t a lie.”
Perhaps he was somewhat aware of the fact that he had made my lady uncomfortable. Even if I denied it, his cloudy expression wouldn’t clear up. Rather, he seems to be growing impatient with how he didn’t know what to do.
“…can I ask you something?”
“Why would you ask me about this? Don’t you have other servants that could consult you?”
“I learned that my educator taught me many lies. Honestly, I just don’t know who to trust right now, but you’re Sophia’s educator, right?”
“…so that’s it.”
I don’t know how he knew that I was Lady Sophia’s teacher, but my association with her must have given me some credibility in his eyes.
“I now understand why you asked me, but why would you want to know this?”
I pondered whether he was looking for a way to reconcile with my lady, but the prince shook his head and said, “if I did something wrong, isn’t it only natural to try and rectify it?”
The second prince– no, Alforth was immature, but he wasn’t stupid. Just like my lady, he seemed to be a child with great prospects for the future.
There were many children who could behave as they were taught, but those who could take action on their own were far more rare.
He only seemed like an idiot because his educator mislead him. His highness was only acting in accordance to his lessons.
But even if I knew that, it still wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment as an unaffiliated servant. It’d be far more acceptable for him to consult with his new educator.
However– if it had already happened once, how many times will this incident repeat itself until the cause was removed? It wasn’t known if the new educator will guide his highness correctly either.
His highness Alforth was my lady’s destined partner in the original work, and when considering her appearance, talents, and her pedigree, it was highly likely that she’d be married into the royal family this time as well.
With the second prince having the largest chance of being her partner.
Even if that wasn’t the case, given their positions as the daughter of a Marquis and a prince, they would undoubtedly be involved with each other in the future. When taking that into consideration, his highness’ immaturity was definitely troubling.
“Your highness, do you truly want to hear my advice? No matter how severe it is?”
Professor Tristan tried to stop me, but it was none other than his highness who stopped him.
“It doesn’t matter how harsh it is. Be honest with me, is Sophia angry with me? If so, what should I do? No, what should I do now?”
“…then I’ll be straight. Lady Sophia isn’t angry with you, your highness. However, she’s disappointed with how you left your followers unchecked.”
Was it his highness Alforth or professor Tristan that gasped? Probably both, but since I had already resolved myself to speak in my lady’s place, I wasn’t going to hold back.
The prince needed to know the truth if he ever wanted to be a good match for her.
“Your highness, do you remember how I asked you if you were a member of the elitist faction before?”
“Of course I do, but didn’t I deny those claims?”
“The important thing here is that you appeared that way, because you look like that to your surroundings, that was a roundabout way of me telling you to be mindful of your behaviour and actions.”
“…really? Why didn’t you just tell me that directly?”
“It’s because I couldn’t.”
I shook my head with a sigh. Listening from the sidelines, professor Tristan was rubbing his temple, but it didn’t seem like he was going to intervene.
If he didn’t stop me, then he’d also be considered guilty– but I selfishly opened my mouth again despite this.
“You are a prince, while I’m just a commoner butler.”
“But I thought status didn’t matter at the school?”
“That’s a policy in name-only. If the person in the higher position doesn’t proclaim equality first, then there’s no way those of lower status could act as their equals. However, your highness…”
“I let Jircliffe and Surge get away with their domineering behaviour. I see, there are a number of things that come to mind now that you mentioned that. It’s no wonder Sophia is disappointed with me…”
His highness Alforth dropped his shoulders.
Even if everything I said was true, it wouldn’t be odd for him to object to my claims, but he didn’t seem to have any intentions of doing so at all.
On the contrary, he even apologised for inconveniencing me.
As expected of the person in charge of the game’s main route. Even if he was currently immature, he will surely grow into a prince suitable to be a capture target within three years.
“Just what I am supposed to do then?”
“You need to become aware of your position and learn to understand political subtleties.”
“If I do that, will Sophia trust me again?”
“…do you want me to be honest?”
“Yes. I’m ready.”
His expression seemed to be a mix of anxiety and expectation, but it was still somewhat naive. I decided to tell him the truth, not for his sake, but for Lady Sophia’s.
“Trust is gained through accumulated actions. While being ignorant of your surroundings, you innocently repeated the same mistakes again and again, you never had her trust from the beginning.”
It wouldn’t be odd at all if I were convicted here for lèse-majesté.
In fact, even professor Tristan’s face was twitching. My words definitely weren’t those one should be taking towards royalty.
However, his highness Alforth wasn’t angry, he just endured it with tears in his eyes. He had the self-control appropriate for a prince, and a mind mature enough to listen to the opinions of others.
I had no doubts that he would eventually become the charming prince that appeared in the game.
“…that’s why you should start building that trust from now on.”
“From now on? Then… you’re saying that it’s not too late?!”
Despite how he was just falling into despair, light once again began to dwell in prince Alforth’s eyes. To further encourage him, I strongly nodded.
“You definitely made a mistake, but it wasn’t an irreparable failure. Your highness, if you put in your best efforts, my lady will surely recognise it and grow to trust you. I’m sure of it.”
“Can I… really be like that?”
“As long as you try, fate will always be on your side.”
If the handsome boy with powerful status awakened as a strong and gentle prince, completely separated from his naivety. My lady would surely approve of him.
“…okay. I’ll pay attention to my surroundings and do my best from scratch. If there’s something I don’t understand, can I talk to you about it?”
“If that’s what you want, your highness– however, please follow the proper procedure and send an intermediary next time, okay?”
Written by Scarlet Rain (緋色の雨)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com