It was expected for the commoner faction to come into contact with us during the new student welcome party, and it was also within expectations for the second prince– who was completely taken by Lady Sophia, to ask her for a dance.
But what I never could’ve predicted was the event where the heroine that was supposed to enroll three years from now to suddenly appear before me.
In this situation where Lady Sophia wanted to dance with me; Libert suddenly asked her for a dance, after which Alicia went ahead and asked me for a dance, and following that the second prince asked my lady for a dance as well.
It was impossible for me anticipate this.
Even so, I was Lady Sophia’s exclusive butler. Within this scene of carnage, I needed to prioritise minimising the damage to her.
…if giving her priority in a situation like this was even possible, the very concept was laughable.
No, now wasn’t the time to fall into escapism. Lady Sophia was currently trapped in a difficult position while I was doing nothing but ponder.
What was most important here was her protection. For that goal, avoiding the factional conflict should be my top priority.
The problem here was the second prince.
As a mere butler, I couldn’t dispute the invitation to dance he gave her. If I overstepped my position and crossed a line that I shouldn’t, I might end up casting doubt on my lady’s character.
My lady turned towards me, but I couldn’t do anything. Instead, I put my hand over my chest and looked straight into her shaking amethyst eyes.
I haven’t just been protecting her this entire time. I raised my lady up so she could cope with any situation she may come across. If it was her, then she’d definitely be able to get through this dilemma.
‘It’ll be okay, I’m here for you.’ I repeated these thoughts in my mind over and over again.
–soon after, Lady Sophia nodded her head. Then after straightening her back, and fixing her expression to one suitable for a daughter of a Marquis, my lady turned to the second prince with a stunning smile.
“Lord Alforth, I’m honoured by your invitation, but I’m currently in the middle of a conversation. You can ask me again later, so for now can you please relent?”
Those who were waiting in anticipation for my lady’s answer gasped.
But that was the only suitable response to give in this situation. If I were in her position, I would’ve reacted the same way.
Although there was a certain degree of respect required for dealing with higher-ranked nobility, the second prince’s actions have been lacking in tact for a while now. On top of that, the school did have a policy of equality regardless of status.
Under such circumstances, the second prince couldn’t be given preferential treatment.
With that said, it wasn’t possible to overtly support for the commoner faction either. If such an attitude was taken, then we’d be placing ourselves in direct opposition to the second prince.
Therefore, there was only one option for my lady left to choose. To give priority… to her previous commitment.
My lady would give preference to the people she was interacting with first. By doing so, her position wouldn’t be clarified, even if one of those people were Libert.
Although her actions could be taken as her neglecting the second prince, by saying ‘for now’, her words could also be seen as her setting aside time for him later on.
In addition to that, it generally wasn’t considered normal for women to invite others to dance.
Therefore, to reply to the gentleman invited her out that she’d go see him on her own… could be seen as an unusually passionate response.
I thought the second prince would be content with this, but he had a strangely dissatisfied expression on.
Could it be, that as an elitist he’s thinking he should be given preference regardless of who came first? Is this why he disrupted her conversation with the opposing faction in such a public place?
If that was true, then this is quite annoying–
“Sophia, do you not… want to dance with me?”
–but it was for a completely different reason than what I thought.
The second prince was just another boy in love.
“No, it’s not like that… but…”
In retrospect, even when Lady Sophia created her faction, she wasn’t able to convey the roundabout exchanges that were commonplace within aristocratic society to the other girls.
The mature nuances in my lady’s actions couldn’t be passed on to innocent children.
“Lady Sophia, are you really going to reject his highness, whose rank is superior to your own?”
It was one of the prince’s followers who spoke such words.
Certainly, taking only status into consideration, the second prince should be given priority. Although this was a school that valued equality, if the individual in the higher position said such a thing didn’t matter, there was nothing you could do.
However, my lady had already expressed her will to give consideration to both parties. Regardless of the follower’s identity, his words were ones that looked down on the daughter of a Marquis and her opinion.
Therefore, the final judgement for this situation could only be made by the highest-ranked person here– the second prince, but his face only seemed to say that he wanted to dance with her.
My lady then smiled, going “I would never hold his highness in contempt,” before turning to Alicia and Libert to bow, saying, “please forgive me for this.”
Her words meant that she going to accept the prince’s invitation to dance.
Libert responded, “I don’t care,” with a derisive smirk. To his brazen reply, my lady showed a bit of disappointment.
As I watched this all happen while calming myself, my lady suddenly called for me, but I had already prepared myself for her order.
“My apologies, but my butler will have to keep you company in my place. Cyril, I’m leaving this to you.”
“Please rest assured, my lady.”
When I said that, Lady Sophia made a small smile. However, she soon changed that expression to one fitting of the daughter of a Marquis before she was escorted to the dance hall by the second prince.
Naturally, the prince’s entourage followed them.
I’d like to ask if those actions were appropriate for the main capture target of Espressivo of Light and Darkness.
He seemed more reliable in the game… will he grow up that way in the next three years? To have him become someone worthy of my lady, he was currently at a point that I’d want to retrain him from scratch.
…hmm, that could’ve been a spin-off work specifically designed to tickle the hearts of young boy enthusiasts, called ‘Let’s Nurture the Unreliable Little Alforth Into a Fine Prince!’ or something.
But putting that aside, right now I had to deal with the matter regarding Libert.
With how the situation developed, he was undoubtedly disappointed with my lady. If things continued to progress this way, he might misunderstand this as her abandoning him in favour of the elitists.
Keeping that in mind, I needed to keep him company until she returned. Taking a deep breath, I quickly thought up the appropriate actions to take here and turned around.
“My apologies for my lady’s rudeness. As the exclusive butler of Lady Sophia, I– Cyril, will give you the utmost hospitality in the meantime.”
While keeping the eyes of the elitists on us in mind, I told him that I would stay here on my lady’s behalf.
Then I turned to Alicia.
“Lady Alicia, I’m honoured by your invitation, but I’m only a butler, and in accordance with my lady’s orders, I’m currently busy with other matters. I hope you can forgive me but…”
“I understand. I’ll give up on the dance considering the circumstances, but we can still talk, right?”
Not something for me to decide, so I turned towards Libert.
“I don’t care, but I’m a commoner. Will a noble lady like her be okay with that?”
At Libert’s question, tension ran through the surroundings watching us, but Alicia tilted her head with an innocent smile.
“Is there any problem with me doing so?”
“Ku… kuhahaha~ no, you’re right. There’d be no problems at all.”
Libert’s expression broke down and he started to smile.
…oh, I knew this exchange. This is the scene where Libert– who hated the nobility with a passion, first showed interest in the heroine, Alicia.
Though it was supposed to be an event that occurs three years from now after the game starts…
Because I had ruined Alicia’s fateful encounter with the second prince for my own goals, I’d like to support her relationships with the other capture targets if possible.
That’s what I wanted but… this is Libert. His route was the one where my lady got into contact with the elitists and then was convicted under false charges.
My lady was now currently dancing with the elitist faction’s second prince, while Alicia and Libert were quickly growing closer. I couldn’t help but feel like we were rapidly heading towards our destruction end.
This is bad, I need to change how things were currently progressing.
…but how would I do so? I couldn’t interfere in the relationship between these two. By preventing members of the nobility and commoners from getting along, I’d be practically declaring that I advocated for elitist ideals.
From the perspective of the elitist aristocrats, I was just a filthy commoner butler. However, from the viewpoint of the other commoners, I was a sell-out that had pledged myself to the nobility.
Both sides could easily misunderstand my actions considering their current opinions of me.
Moreover, for some reason Alicia currently favoured me. If I broke in between these two now, I feel like I’d be entering the swamp of some kind of triangle relationship.
As I thought, it would be best if I could convey that my lady wasn’t an elitist.
However, because of Alicia, we were now attracting unneeded attention that complicated things.
If I just declared that, “My lady is an ally of the commoners” for them to hear, there’d be no point in the struggles my lady went through in accepting the prince’s invitation to dance.
So that the surroundings wouldn’t notice, I needed to say this in a roundabout way.
“By the way, the setup for the courtyard venue seems to be quite sloppy. As a butler serving a Marquis house, was that really okay?”
That’s what Libert said.
But what he meant was, ‘can I take that as you not caring as to how the commoners are treated?’
“Actually, I wasn’t responsible for the courtyard’s setup.”
“What are you saying? Every year there’s a party of the new students admitted to the school. Did you really think that I wouldn’t know that the top student of the servant course would be in charge of it?”
I hesitated to answer. Even if Raymond announced that he was the one in charge of the courtyard venue, it wouldn’t relieve the suspicion behind that area’s neglect.
It was my responsibility if something went wrong in the courtyard, but Raymond was the one responsible for its quality. However, that still wouldn’t change the fact that the courtyard venue wasn’t setup to standard.
With that said– it was somewhat suspicious that Libert didn’t know about the conflict that happened in the servant course.
It was already rumoured that Raymond and I were setting up the venues separately. This was because it was none other than Raymond himself who was trumpeting this fact everywhere.
If so, then this was a question Libert made even after knowing the circumstances. From the beginning, he was suspecting if I– or rather if my lady through myself, was an elitist.
“Like I said, another person was put in charge of setting up the courtyard.”
“So you had no intentions of working there in the first place?”
“No, it was the teacher who made the groupings. If I was involved in the courtyard venue’s setup, I would definitely work my hardest for it, just like I did here.”
I indirectly appealed that I had no intentions of neglecting the commoners in the slightest.
“So that’s how it is, your words are a relief. However… this is what I think. The simpler a person is, the easier it is to get along with them. So the problem here is–”
‘You’re hiding your true self, or you’re only pretending to be the way you are to deceive me.’ In other words, Libert suspected that my lady and I were just acting the way we were to lure him into a false sense of security so he’d let his guard down.
“Aren’t you overestimating me?”
“Definitely not. Where else would I find I guy who could understand my intentions from only a single sentence?”
If it were Alicia, she’d probably just innocently reply ‘What?’ with a confused expression. In that sense, a girl like her that didn’t have any hidden sides was quite compatible with Libert.
However… this was troublesome. The way I answered his questions was perfect, but it’s because I replied so perfectly that he couldn’t trust me.
As I thought, it was necessary to have him told the truth directly from my lady’s mouth.
Fortunately, Libert had invited her to dance. Perhaps this was so he could talk with her confidentially. No one else could eavesdrop on their conversation in the middle of a waltz.
During their dance, they’d be able to talk about the current situation as much as they wished. It seems it would be better to just keep him company until my lady returned rather than try to persuade him myself.
“Sir Libert, I understand your concerns, but I’d like to tell you that they’re groundless.”
“…oh? How are you going to prove it then?”
“My lady is a person who values manners. She would never neglect her previous commitment to you.”
As the second prince’s partner, my lady was currently in the dance hall’s spotlight. While I looked at her slightly dissatisfied expression, I spoke with a small voice.
My words meant that she’d remember to dance with Libert later as well. Which would be proof that she didn’t have any ill-intent towards the commoners, meaning the misunderstanding would be able to be solved immediately.
–but I made two mistakes here.
The first was that the individuals surrounding the prince were more brazen than I expected, while the second was… that I didn’t understand how deeply my lady actually trusted me.
Soon the song finished, and my lady gave the second prince a bow in parting, but then the followers stood in her way as she tried to leave.
I couldn’t hear the contents of their conversation because they were too far away.
However, the two then offered their hands to her. I understood the meaning of that gesture. They was asking her out to a dance.
They knew that my lady only interrupted her conversation in consideration of the second prince.
And yet they were ignoring her circumstances and inviting her out to another dance. If they valued their reputation, this was obviously an err on their behalf.
Originally the second prince should’ve just given up and waited for my lady to come to him. Even so, things went through because he was unreliable and couldn’t understand the subtleties of the situation. With that in mind, even if we had to cut corners a bit, my lady had all the right to reject them as the second-highest ranked person here.
As I thought that– my lady whispered something as she noticed my gaze, before taking one of their hands and returning to the dance hall.
“It seems that your mistress doesn’t remember her previous commitments to a commoner after all.”
Libert spat that out unpleasantly.
However, if you looked at the situation subjectively, despite my lady showing preferential behavior to her previous commitments, she eventually relented to the second prince and left dealing with Libert to her butler.
It’s no wonder that he felt bitter.
I understood that she wanted to avoid antagonising the elitists, but it wasn’t like her to make a choice like this.
Be that as it may, after thinking about it for a moment, I was able to figure out my lady’s thought process.
She really trusted me. Lady Sophia truly believed that her exclusive butler was the best in the entire world, and that I was more reliable than anyone else.
–but she didn’t understand that this fact wasn’t true for others.
Maybe if I was Lady Sophia’s blood relative, then things might’ve been different.
In that case, even if my lady left things to me, Libert would’ve been able to understand that it was still in good faith. However, to him I was just another servant, and twelve year old child at that, not even a professionally employed adult.
To leave the matters regarding him to me would undoubtedly be seen as a lack of sincerity.
“I’m sorry. My lady doesn’t usually make mistakes like this.”
“I wonder. Are you sure all of this wasn’t just according to her plans?”
“No, there’s no way that’s true. However, it’s only natural that you would feel uncomfortable in this situation. Sir Libert, I’d like to apologise on my lady’s behalf. We will make this up to you later.”
“I’ll remember that.”
Libert then left the venue because he said he had a previous commitment he had to deal with.
I’ve been getting some messages that people can’t understand this chapter, so here’s an easy to understand summary of the important parts:
- The prince asks to dance with Sophia.
- Sophia says ‘no’ because she’s busy with her previous commitment, but is willing to make time for him later. Because she used the words ‘previous commitment’, she wasn’t explicitly saying she was prioritising talking to the leader of the commoner faction Libert, so the elitists wouldn’t be able to take that as her aligning herself with him. She also uses ‘for now’, which meant that she was reserving a dance for the prince later, but because girls weren’t supposed to initiate dances in this setting, her words could be taken as very forward and passionate, which should’ve been enough to satisfy the prince.
- It doesn’t satisfy the prince. The prince is a normal 12 year old boy experiencing his first love. He doesn’t understand the hidden meanings in Sophia’s words, and thus wasn’t flattered by how ‘passionate’ her delayed invitation was.
- Prince’s follower interferes, forcing Sophia into a position where she had to accept the prince’s invitation immediately or she’ll antagonise the elitists. She then leaves the matter regarding Libert to Cyril.
- Cyril apologises to both Libert and Alicia for various things. Alicia says its okay and asks if they can just talk. Libert says its okay for Alicia to stay and becomes interested in her.
- Cyril wants to tell Libert that they’re on his side, but can’t say it directly or else the elitists (who were watching them) would then know and become hostile, completely ruining the whole reason Sophia started dancing with the prince in the first place (to not antagonise the elitists). Libert then tests Cyril for his intentions to see if he’s an elitist. Since the ideologies of the servant reflect their master. Cyril answers his questions perfectly, but because he did it so well, that only made Libert suspicious that this was all an act that he had prepared for beforehand. (Think of it like how you wouldn’t trust a perfect politician with no flaws whatsoever, since then you know that they’re hiding something)
- Cyril admits that he can’t win over Libert and Sophia herself would have to do it. But after Sophia finishes her dance with the prince, the followers ask her out to more dances in hopes of disrupting her talks with Libert. She accepts so that she wouldn’t offend them and turn the elitists hostile, even if she was in the right to reject them given the circumstances, all the while thinking that since Cyril was the one dealing with Libert, everything would be fine.
- Everything is not fine. Libert understands Sophia’s position and problems, which is why he was okay with the second prince dancing with her first, but for her to accept the optional dances of the followers she could’ve rejected rather than return and fulfill her previous commitment to him, she crosses the line. Her actions of neglecting him and leaving him to her child servant instead were perceived as him ‘not being worthy of being taken seriously,’ which left Libert insulted and upset.
- Libert then leaves the party saying he has a previous commitment to attend to. (He really doesn’t, that was just him being sarcastic by using the phrase that Sophia was using to build up his hopes but ultimately failed in following through in.)
So yeah, that’s one chapter of subtleties and innuendos compacted into 9 points. Hopefully that helps and you can re-read chapter 11 with a better understanding now.
Written by Scarlet Rain (緋色の雨)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com