In order to come into contact with Libert, I planned to sneak into his tea party as Alicia’s exclusive butler, but now I was going to have to attend it as her escort.
It was a condition set based off of a thorough understanding of my circumstances. There was no way I could dispel Alicia’s demands myself. Therefore, there was only one person here that could change the terms of this deal.
However, even Melissa said, “If my lady has resolved herself for this, then I won’t say anything.” Your mistress is pursuing someone completely unacceptable for her social class! How could you allow this?!
…or so I complained in my heart, but I’m sure I would’ve said the same thing if I was Alicia’s butler. Melissa wasn’t a maid of the Lindberg Viscount house, but Alicia’s exclusive maid.
I was a bit surprised, but she was only asking me to be an informal tea party partner. Compared to escorting someone at the first prince’s birthday party, it was a trivial matter.
With that in mind, the only problem would be Lady Sophia’s reaction to this.
She seemed like she was going to fall into darkness just from me dancing with Alicia that one time, so once she knows I’ll be attending a tea party as her partner…
I felt shivers just thinking about it, but I wasn’t going to keep this from her. I will never lie to my lady. That was something I vowed to uphold the moment I became Lady Sophia’s exclusive butler.
But everything has a procedure to follow.
When negotiating, you needed to understand the other party’s interests. Similarly, when apologising for something, you needed to bring goods to show off your sincerity, and if the crime you committed was unforgivable, you needed to prepare a scapegoat.
…oops, my thoughts were really starting to get dark there. For the time being, let’s start preparing the sweets my lady likes before I meet with her.
However, when I returned to the mansion while thinking that, Rouché was on standby in front of my room. The moment she saw me, she said, “The mistress is waiting for you” in a business-like manner.
“Should I go to the mistress’ room then?”
Rouché shook her head at my query–
“The mistress is waiting for you here.”
–and then quickly opened the door before pushing my back. My footsteps echoed out as I stumbled in, and immediately after, Rouché closed the door behind me.
While still confused by her abrupt actions, I raised my face.
And standing there– was my lady.
“…Cyril, where were you?”
“I was searching for a way to get into contact with Sir Libert, my lady.”
I immediately answered her.
Having vowed to never tell my lady a lie, it was a small trick that hid the truth without distorting any information. I just wasn’t ready yet.
“In other words, flirting with Alicia was necessary to meet with Libert?”
Ahh… she knew about the meeting.
The lights in my lady’s amethyst eyes disappeared as they turned red, while her platinum blonde hair started to flutter despite there being no wind– wait, something’s wrong.
Don’t tell me, is her magic power running out of control?!
“My lady, please calm down!”
“I can’t calm down! I hate this! Why won’t you look at me?!”
“Don’t do this, my lady!”
I grabbed my lady’s delicate shoulders and pulled her in close. My serious figure was reflected in the back of her red-dyed eyes, and her clear white cheeks quickly flushed vermilion.
“C-cyril? Y-your face is too close.”
“My lady, please calm down. Steady yourself, and look into my eyes, have you realised that your magic power is running out of control?”
“…eh? Magic… power? My magic?”
“Yes, your magic power. Calm yourself, and take a deep breath. Do you remember what I’ve taught you about controlling your magic? Please let the magic power that’s built up inside of you escape.”
“Okay. I understand…”
My lady then closed her eyes and began to release her magic. From her body, glittering sparkles of light began dissipating into the air.
At the same time, her red eyes returned to their original purple colour.
“…Cyril, what happened to me?”
“You seemed to be suffering from magical overcharge, my lady.”
“…magical overcharge? Is that some kind of illness?”
“It’s a rare symptom that occurs when one has magic power stored beyond their body’s capacity. However, there shouldn’t be any problems as long as the magic is released or used regularly just like you did just now. So please rest assured.”
If the state in which the body is saturated in magic power continues over a long period of time, one’s control over both of their magic and their emotions becomes difficult.
Emotions and magic power are closely tied to one another, so if you allowed one to grow unstable, the other would soon follow. While in a state of magic saturation, the smallest event could cause both to run wild.
In the game, the change where the lights disappeared from my lady’s eyes was so sudden and abrupt that it was only appropriate to call it a fall into darkness.
Perhaps magical overcharge had damaged her mind.
However, I wasn’t worried.
Control would only be lost if the state of magic saturation was drawn out.
You could use magic to consume the power, release unnecessary magic power outside your body, or have a third party absorb the magic power to prevent the overload.
It wasn’t a terrible condition if the individual concerned learned magic or they had someone who could treat it nearby.
Rather, how her magic power recovered faster than normal was actually a good thing. This was proof that my lady had talent as a magician.
“…Cyril? Will I really be okay?”
“Yes, I’m sure of it. However… my lady, you seem to become emotional with matters regarding me.”
“Eh? Ah, that’s… umm, I’m sorry.”
Lady Sophia trembled and looked down.
Ever since I regained the memories of my previous life, I’ve served by her side and have continued to watch her grow.
She becomes emotional when it comes to me. There’s no way I wouldn’t be happy about this. I didn’t want to let go of the warmth in my arms.
“My lady, I’m always looking at you– but you need to be more aware of your position. You’re the daughter of a Marquis, and you can’t forget that.”
Looking up towards me, my lady started to say something.
But I released her from my embrace first, and gently put some distance between us.
“My lady, please listen to my report. I have many things to tell you about the current state of the factions.”
“…I understand. But before that, just one thing. Please tell me just this one thing.”
Similar to when we first met, my lady’s eyes were shaking anxiously. Matching her gaze, I asked, “Yes?”
“Cyril… do you remember the promise you made to me during our childhood?”
“Of course I remember.”
I vowed to always be there for her.
My lady was still small back then, and as a reincarnator, I could only see her as a child I had to protect. But as she grew older, my perception of her changed from that of a little kid to a young lady.
Even so, I… no, that’s exactly why I haven’t forgotten that promise.
Pressing her hand against her chest, my lady then nodded, and when she looked up again, the noble daughter of a Marquis was standing before me.
“Now then, please begin the report.”
“…as you wish. First is a matter regarding the second prince. Its highly likely that he doesn’t have any elitist thoughts.”
“…what are you talking about?”
“You’re confusion is only natural, my lady–”
I then confessed that the prince had come into contact with me.
“The second prince showed up at your classroom?!”
“Yes, it really surprised me.”
“That sounds nice, can’t I do that too?”
“…no, you can’t.”
The second prince could get away with it because of his superior status, but having my employer of the opposite-sex visit would undoubtedly cause unjust suspicion towards her motives. I’d like to think that she was joking because she should’ve already known the answer.
“That’s too bad… so what business did he have with you?”
“He inquired me on your preferences and likes. He seems to be regretting how he inconvenienced you during your dances together.”
‘Because he holds feelings towards you, my lady’– I omitted that one part and only told her about the objective facts. After which, she probably remembered how she was stepped on before, and smiled.
“At the time, I was wondering why he didn’t have any malicious intent despite how he was treating me, so if that’s the case…”
This meant that while the second prince didn’t agree with the elitists, he had no intentions of fixing the surrounding’s misconception of him. With that in mind, I went on to explain my thoughts on the matter.
After she was finished listening to my story, Lady Sophia was making an expression that said she couldn’t believe it.
“How could such a thing even be possible? Even if he hasn’t noticed anything himself, wouldn’t his educator or one of his acquaintances inform him of the truth?”
“No, not necessarily.”
The second prince’s current situation wasn’t one you could consider normal. If that was the case, then you’d have to assume there was something unusual affecting it.
For example, professor Tristan’s education policy.
It’s a virtue to learn from one’s failures. Although he wasn’t the second prince’s butler, the possibility that the royal family follows the same guidelines couldn’t be ruled out.
Or they might’ve never intended to have him educated in the first place.
If the people surrounding the second prince wanted him to fail, then of course they wouldn’t correct his mistakes. On the off-chance this was true, then it’s no wonder he never learned how to conduct himself as a member of the royal family.
Putting the former case aside, if it was the latter, then we shouldn’t dig too deep into this situation. If we didn’t handle it correctly, then we might involve ourselves with the real faction struggles that couldn’t even be compared to our current child’s play.
“Of course, this is only conjecture, I don’t actually know the truth. However, because he’s likely to get into contact with you at a later date, its prudent that we investigate this as soon as possible, my lady.”
“That’s true. Then I’ll leave the matter regarding his highness Alforth to you. Now then, what about Libert’s case?”
“Actually, Lady Alicia has been invited to a tea party hosted by him, so I asked if I could accompany her by temporarily working as her exclusive butler.”
My lady’s face twitched at that statement.
“But Lady Alicia rejected that proposal.”
“Instead, she set the condition that she would take me as long as I accompanied her as her escort.”
Her whole body stiffening up, the lights in my lady’s eyes disappeared again.
“Did you already accept her request, Cyril? You didn’t even consult with me a single word about this.”
This was extremely frightening, but I was far past the point to be feeling guilty, so I honestly answered, “It was for your sake, my lady. I only accepted it because it was necessary.”
Immediately after, the lights that had vanished from her eyes returned.
“…that’s not fair. If you tell me that you only did it for my sake, then I can’t say anything back.”
“I’m sorry. Will you forgive me if I brew you a new pot of tea?”
“That’s not enough.”
“Then, will you forgive me if I bake a shortcake for you?”
“That white and sweet confection?! …urgh. T-that’s not enough either. I mean, I won’t be swayed by food.”
My lady turned her face away, but her profile definitely said she wanted the shortcake. It looked like she’d fall if I gave her one more push, but I decided to return the initiative back to her.
“In that case, what will I have to do for you to forgive me?”
“…okay. Then just this once, please promise to fulfill a wish of mine. If you can do that, then I’ll forgive you.”
“A wish? What is it?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
She might have said that, but Lady Sophia’s face was flushed red. That attitude told me what kind of wish she was thinking of…
“Understood, I promise.”
“Huh? Is that okay? Even though I haven’t even decided what it is yet?”
“That doesn’t matter. My lady, if it’s something that you wish for, then I will do my utmost to make it come true, so please take the time to think about what you want.”
As I mischievously laughed, my lady faintly blushed and nodded in response.
A few days later.
I arrived at Libert’s tea party as Alicia’s escort.
She was wearing a pale dress and her hair was done up. As a young lady attending a general tea party, she seemed pretty excited.
Well… I don’t think it was my imagination that it was because I was here.
“Cyril, does my dress not look good on me?”
“No, the light-coloured dress works perfectly with your dark hair. Lady Alicia, you look like a fairy under the night sky.”
“Fuwa… t-thank you so much.”
While having such a silly exchange, we stepped into the party venue. Soon after, Libert must’ve received the news from the servant who was checking the visitors.
He had appeared right in front of us.
“Aren’t you Cyril? Now what is the servant of a Marquis’ daughter doing here?”
“I’m sorry Libert. I brought Cyril here today as my escort.”
Invited guests were checked for their identities, but escorts and servants could pass the inspection as long as the invited guest guaranteed their identities.
Alicia moved forward to cover for me, and explained how I got through.
However, if I just hid behind her here, I’d be disqualified as her partner. With that in mind, I stepped out and gently ushered her back.
“I’m officially here to conduct an inspection of the enemy.”
I lowered the tone of my voice, and indirectly alluded to my true purpose.
If someone listened to our conversation as it was, they’d assume that I was picking a fight, but that was a risk I was willing to take. Libert was well versed in subtleties compared to other students of the same grade.
And if I’m right–
“…so you’re here to fulfill your promise? Okay then, I’m not naive enough to think everyone here is an ally anyways. It’s best to take things slow.”
It looks like he understood me.
What he said could be interpreted as him directly responding to my provocation, but that’s why he said to take things slowly– which could be taken as him accepting my desire for a discussion at a later time.
Libert went on to say, “I’ll see you soon”, before finishing his greetings to Alicia and walking away. Now noticing all the eyes on us, we made our way to the back of the venue.
Rather than a party that disapproved of formalities, it’d probably be more apt to describe it as one that encouraged communication between individuals. It was set up in a buffet format where you could enjoy the sweets and tea while standing.
“Lady Alicia, please try some.”
I picked up a prepared teacup by the saucer and handed it to Alicia. After receiving it with words of gratitude, she then leaked out a small laugh with a grin.
“…did I do something funny?”
“No, nothing of the sort. It’s just that… you’re acting like a servant, Cyril.”
“–ah, please forgive me.”
Today I’m supposed to be Alicia’s partner. It was my job to escort her while Melissa passed us tea to partake in.
Apparently, my servant mentality has become somewhat of a habit.
“You don’t need to apologise. However… Lady Sophia always receives this kind of care from you? I’m a little jealous.”
“In that case, should I take the position of your servant from here on?”
“That’s no good. Cyril, today you’re my partner.”
As expected of the heroine, even while pouting she was cute.
“Geez, why are you laughing?”
…oops, it seems I let my inner thoughts leak out. After soothing Alicia from her pout, we decided it’d be best if we just enjoyed the party while talking with the other participants for now.
Maybe it was because of her natural cheerfulness, but Alicia was quite popular among the commoner faction attendees.
However, it seems that word got around that I was the exclusive butler of the noble lady who danced with the elitists, so there were many who were wary of me.
For those who were trying to interact with Alicia, I was nothing but a hindrance, and as I pondered that, Libert suddenly appeared.
“Lady Alicia, are you enjoying yourself?”
“Yes, I’m having a lot of fun. The sweets and tea are quite delicious.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
Alicia’s innocent smile even seemed to break down his walls. I couldn’t be sure because both the situation and the year were different from the game, but she seemed to be entering Libert’s route.
Which was bad, considering how both my lady and I were still suspected of being elitists.
I don’t think Libert had the ability to read thoughts, but he sent a glance my way at that moment.
“Speaking of which, I’ve heard that you were a master of brewing tea. Cyril, do you have any intentions of sharing those techniques with me?”
“I don’t know if my skills are that good, but I’ve received permission from my lady, so if you want them, then I could even teach you now.”
Only those who belonged to my lady’s faction could learn my tea brewing techniques. He probably investigated this beforehand, so he must have quite the strong information network setup.
In other words, Libert was actually asking me whether we were allies or not, and my reply was to show that my lady willing to join hands as soon as possible, even immediately if he so desired.
“Hmm… is that so? Well, I’m currently in a conversation with Lady Alicia, so could you instruct my servant instead?”
When Libert snapped his fingers, a boy dressed as a butler suddenly appeared.
I see… so that’s how it is.
“Lady Alicia, do you mind?”
“Eh? Me? Umm… would that make you happy, Cyril?”
“It would, thank you for understanding. Now then… we should make haste, no? Could you guide me?”
When I asked that of the boy in servant attire, he promptly nodded and began walking away. Following behind him, we exited the venue and made our way down a hallway.
After a while, the boy dressed as a butler stopped and looked back at me.
“…do you have any complaints?”
“You mean about how I was removed from the venue?”
Lady Sophia has me teach my tea brewing techniques to her allies. Libert used that as an excuse to separate me from Alicia.
“So Nicola, why are you in disguise?”
“Huh? How do you know my name?”
“I have my ways.”
He might look like a butler, but I could tell by his posture that he wasn’t. He was just an ordinary boy in the uniform.
On top of that was his slightly dark brown hair. That was all the information I had on his appearance, but I knew that Libert’s right-hand man was an individual named Nicola.
Therefore, I figured this was him.
A certain question came to mind as I pondered this.
In the first place, why did Libert make Nicola pretend to be a butler? If he just wanted to have me removed from the venue, why didn’t he use a real one?
Libert wasn’t the kind of guy who did things for no reason. So there had to be a meaning in sending his devoted friend.
…he only looked like a child to me. However, his true identity was that of a trusted aide. Yet Libert still had him dressed as a butler despite the fact that I could’ve misinterpreted this.
The situation was similar to what had happened at the new student welcome party.
Wait, don’t tell me–
“Did you people know that I was greatly trusted by Lady Sophia from the beginning?”
Nicola didn’t respond to my question.
But that reaction of his was no different from an affirmation of my words.
He looked stiff.
The motives behind what had occurred at the welcome party had collapsed.
My lady entrusted me to deal with Libert, and yet his dissatisfied response to when he was left to a random servant child that didn’t have her trust– was a lie.
Despite knowing that my lady was being sincere, Libert still displayed such a reaction to me.
His response to the situation couldn’t be considered rational under normal circumstances. However, if something unusual happened, it was probably because there was an unusual reason behind it as well.
Libert knew that my lady’s actions weren’t because she held the commoners in disdain. On top of that, in response to the attitude she only took to keep up appearances, he pretended to believe that she was an elitist and became hostile.
I could only think of one reason why he would do this.
“My lady doesn’t want to be in conflict with the elitists, but they might know that as well, right?”
The elitists approached Lady Sophia in hopes of recruiting her as an ally.
Not wanting to anger them, my lady pretended to favour them while leaving me to deal with the commoner faction, but if my relationship with her was known, then anyone could see that it was an expression of her sincerity.
In other words, there was a possibility that the elitists would know her true intentions as well and become hostile.
However, I don’t think the person they sent to spy on me and Libert knew that. They surely would’ve judged the relationship between Lady Sophia and the commoners to be less than amicable with the situation as it was.
But Libert wouldn’t take that chance, and went that far just to deceive his surroundings.
“…as expected of Libert, he was right when he said we had to be wary of you.”
“So you’re saying my deductions are correct?”
“About half of them are.”
The edge of Nicola’s mouth raised into a grin.
“…half. Then what’s the other half I missed?”
“I told you didn’t I? We’re wary of you as well. You’re too sharp, so you’re a potential threat.”
“…I see. So it’s true that I was being investigated?”
If either my lady or I turned out to be an elitist, Libert would’ve feigned ignorance until he could’ve led us into a trap. Conversely, if we were enemies, my lady and I would’ve hidden the truth until he let his guard down and we could betray him.
–The one thing you can’t be negligent about is a person who hides their true intentions.
That was a common perception both Libert and I understood.
“You may think he was being over vigilant, but I hope you won’t hold it against him. A lot of things happened in his past, and now he’s a bit paranoid when it comes to selecting his allies.”
Libert used to have a younger sister.
She was an innocent girl that had no hidden sides to her and was kind to everyone. She adored him, and in return Libert cherished her from the bottom of his heart.
That is, until her life was taken away by a nobleman who approached him under the guise of friendship.
“I understand the situation. Of course, my purpose here is to inform you we’re on your side without turning the elitists hostile. There should be no problems as long as my objective is fulfilled.”
“Oh, okay. Since we don’t have much time, let’s get straight to it then. Cyril, you’re here to tell us that Lady Sophia isn’t part of the elitist faction, correct?”
“Yes, I’ve been entrusted with this as evidence.”
I passed Nicola the letter written by my lady.
The letter explained that she wanted to support the commoner faction. However, it also conveyed that she didn’t want to be put in direct opposition of the elitists either.
“A letter… if the elitists knew that you gave us something like this, then won’t both your mistress and yourself be in danger with your compromised position?”
“That’s exactly why I’m giving it to you.”
If the letter was made public, my lady would be forced to confront the elitist faction. In other words, if the commoner faction betrayed us, we’ll have no choice but to join this conflict.
However, the letter couldn’t be used to threaten my lady. If they did this, then she’d become their enemy as well.
It was a move that only allowed them to accept her as an ally.
“Okay then, I’ll hand this letter over to Libert. However, we won’t hold whatever’s written here against you. Though, are you always planning to stay as the ones in the shadows?”
I answered in my heart that this was my lady’s desire. There was no need to worry now that the misunderstanding had been resolved. If they were to investigate her as she was currently, they would undoubtedly see her true nature.
“…is that so? Well, it’s fine. Do you have anything else to pass on?”
“Yes, please convey to Libert that the second prince doesn’t seem to be an elitist.”
“…huh? What are you saying?”
“The other day I had the opportunity to meet with him. I can’t disclose our talk’s contents because it was a personal matter, but his highness Alforth seems to be longing for his ‘spring’ to arrive.”
“I see, the rose of the Rosenberg house has been reputed to be extremely beautiful indeed.”
As soon as I implied that the prince was in love, Nicola immediately deduced that Lady Sophia was his target of affection. After all, there was no other noble lady that could fit those conditions.
“This is just my personal opinion– the prince is merely an innocent child appropriate for his age, so he doesn’t have a proper grip on his subordinates.”
“…oh? If that’s the truth, then… I see.”
Nicola took a moment to ponder this revelation, and then made a gesture that suggested he was convinced. It seems that something had come to his mind to support my statement.
“That’s all I needed to tell you, so now I’m going to return to Lady Alicia.”
It would be suspicious if I was gone too long, so I turned around to leave.
“Ah, please wait one moment.”
“…yes? What is it?”
If he had any more questions, I would answer them. As I looked back with that thought, Nicola seemed to be struggling to find his words. Was it something difficult to bring up?
“Oh, it’s just that… its Libert’s final say on whether you’re considered an enemy, an ally, or a neutral party, but I’m willing to cooperate with you.”
“…you’re willing to cooperate with us? Just of your own personal judgement?”
“Well, something like that. If you ever run into trouble, please contact me.”
He then explained to me how to reach him in secret. Apparently he had friends in the B-class servant course.
“Understood. I’ll make sure to contact you if I need anything. Now then–”
“Ah, please wait!”
“…there’s still more?”
“No, uhh… just stay here for now.”
“…what? Is there a reason why you don’t want me to return?”
I didn’t think Libert would do anything to harm Alicia, but no matter how I thought about it, he was trying to buy time. Just why… ahh, so that’s it.
Although the situation was quite different, there was an event in the game where Libert asked Nicola to stall for time so that he could enjoy a conversation with the heroine. Just like now.
“Does Sir Libert hold feelings for Lady Alicia?”
“Eh?! N-no, I’m not in a position to comment on that… but if it was true, do you think a love crossing rank will really work out?”
“…it’s hard to say.”
There was still a happy ending for Alicia even on Libert’s route. Of course, reality will continue even beyond what was shown in the game, so I couldn’t really say what would happen, but…
“Isn’t it fine as long as they’re resolved to go through with it? I think Sir Libert and Lady Alicia look very good together.”
“I-is that so? So you understand what I’m trying to tell you, right? Then…”
“Yes, I’ll be sure to cooperate with you at the next opportunity.”
“Thanks… wait, the next one?”
The possibility of being misidentified as an elitist has become extremely low, and it was true that Alicia getting together with Libert would be convenient for my situation.
“Today, I’m her partner.”
In exchange for Alicia allowing me to accompany her to the tea party, the deal was that I’d attend it as her escort. Even though I had already fulfilled my objectives, she still kept her promise, so I had no intentions of breaking mine.
That’s why I said farewell to the surprised Nicola and turned around.
Written by Scarlet Rain (緋色の雨)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com