The Marquess’ Daughter Acts as A Pawn

Translator: Leaf

Editor: Derpy

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!

Chapter 15: A Farce is Sweeter than Sugared Confectioneries

Author’s note: We return to the protagonist Julianna’s POV.


“Zeke!!!”

I practically leapt into the arms of my dearest lover (enemy).1 Getting a whiff of Prince Edward’s fragrant scent, my favorite citrus, further exacerbated my anger. Prince Edward lifted me as if hugging me. I snaked my arms around his neck, whispering softly by his ear.

“There’s a stalker present. Just one person, little more than an amateur, but we cannot afford to let our guard down, so please go along with this farce of mine… Incidentally, I’m feeling angry at the fact that a certain scheming prince is not doing his job. Perhaps you’re lacking manpower?”

To the point that I was ordered to infiltrate the Kingdom’s Church, I added internally. There was no question that this man was here partly for his own amusement, so he’d just have to put up with a little sarcasm on my part.

I tilted my head back, feeling that we’d been in too-close proximity for long enough, only for my face to be firmly turned to the side. Then, a small “chu~” rang out. I was kissed on the cheek. A blush rose quickly to my face, having realized what happened. Before I could retaliate, it was Prince Edward who whispered to me this time.

“The way I do my job is to assign tasks to the appropriate people. And today, I found myself to be well-qualified, thus here I am. So what? Julianna, as someone who holds acting in the highest regard, it’s unlike you to be so affected by someone like me… Act the part of Erin properly.”

As he finished speaking, Prince Edward let me down. Etched on his face was a refreshing smile. However, I would not be fooled. This malicious demon king’s smile… was truly infuriating. If he was of such a mind, then so be it. The farce that was about to unfold would not be a date between Zeke and Erin, but a battle between Prince Edward and I. And I absolutely would not lose!

“Oh my. S-suddenly kissing me like that… Zeke, you idiot!”

“It’s because Erin’s cuteness is irresistible… You’re turning red.”

From a bystander’s perspective they were an intimate couple, but in reality, a savage battle was taking place.

“Don’t say such embarrassing things! Let’s just go quickly.”

I wound my arm around Prince Edward’s and pulled him in the direction of the town. After flashing a brief look of surprise, Prince Edward quickly began to escort me. Naturally, in the “ladies first” fashion expected of civilians rather than that of nobility.

“Hey, Erin. I might be late in saying this, but your outfit today really suits you. Seeing you wear something different from the usual is refreshing.”

“…Thank you. Your praise makes it worth picking it out for today! Ah, you look dashing as well, you know?”

Afterwards, all the while exchanging lovey-dovey talk that sent shivers down my spine, Prince Edward and I continued on towards the town.

 

“Mhm, it’s really fitting.”

“You think so?”

Prince Edward and I were by an open-air accessory shop. Since a while ago, we had been comparing the pendants displayed as merchandise. From among them he selected one with a yellow-colored jewel chip, proceeding to hand the shopkeeper the appropriate sum for it.

“May I have this?”

“Thank you for your purchase. I think it really suits that girlfriend of yours.”

“So it does, though I’d be rather troubled were she to become any cuter.”

“Z-Zeke!”

Prince Edward put on the newly purchased pendant for me. In that moment, he pressed closer as if embracing me, once again giving off that citrus scent. Ah, how infuriating. Why did I go ahead with a setting in which Erin is hopelessly in love with Zeke! At this rate, won’t I be unable to make a satisfactory counterattack against Prince Edward?

“It fits you well.”

The shopkeeper brought out a mirror, angling it towards me in a way that would catch my reflection. The conservative design meshed well with today’s choice of dress and Erin’s hair color. It was a pendant that fit not Julianna, but Erin.

This was a present not for me, but for Erin. Therefore, well… no harm in being straightforwardly glad.

“Thank you, Zeke. I’m really happy!”

“…That’s good to hear, my lady.”

For some reason, the smile Prince Edward revealed sent chills down my spine. As if my instincts were warning me — ‘This man is dangerous’. “Shall we go?” he said, then pulled me along by the hand as he started walking.

Let’s see, once the mission has been completed without a hitch, how about doing my best to never cross paths with him again? Although, well… Considering I’m one of the top contenders even among the candidates for the next queen consort, a complete refusal to entertain visitors wouldn’t be feasible.

For the past two generations, the Rowlands Kingdom has welcomed queen consorts of other countries as queen. In order to ensure that the bloodline would not be diluted and that the authorities of other countries would not be able to find a political foothold, it was decided that the next queen consort would be elected from among the Rowlands’ nobility. And I was but one marquess’ daughter, through whom the blood of the royal family, and of the Lewis and Olcott families among the “Three Pillars of the Royal Family”, flowed. Because of that, it became possible to strengthen the ties between nobility and royalty while also gaining a firm backing for the next king in line. Consequently, the current king and his retainers seem to want Prince Edward and I to get engaged. In contrast, Father had his own opinion and proclaimed that no engagements would be made until I was of age. But there was now less than a year left until I came of age. I knew not what would become of me after coming of age, but engagement would probably be unavoidable. Being rushed along with the flow into a flash wedding was also a more-than-believable fate. Well, it seemed that there were marriage proposals coming in from other countries as well, so it was not set in stone that this man would end up becoming my partner.

I surreptitiously stole a glance at Prince Edward walking alongside me. My father and birth mother had brought me into this world for this man’s sake. Although I had been quite troubled back when I first came to know of it, I was relatively over it now. Even so, it was hard not to retain complex feelings over the matter. That was why, when I encountered him in town for the first time, I had hidden my identity to get close to him, citing that I was obligated to protect my country’s prince as my reason. I challenged him to a game of poker to lay the foundations for avoiding an engagement to him… Though, I ended up losing. Furthermore, I got angry of my own accord and said some unnecessary things, causing him to gain an interest in me.

Unexpectedly, I’m a pretty devious person. I had criticized Prince Edward for making me his pawn as the reward for the poker match, but had I gotten the reward, I too had planned to wrest a promise from him to not form an engagement with me. Thinking back on it now, despite knowing that sort of thing was not doable, my younger self had been completely serious about it. How do I put it…? I had simply been led around by Prince Edward. Whether or not Prince Edward himself had been aware of that fact. Perhaps that’s why, I find myself thinking that I don’t want to lose to this man.

As if noticing my gaze, Prince Edward called out to me with, “Is something the matter?”

“It’s nothing.”

Smiling impishly, Prince Edward squeezed our linked hands tightly. What? Don’t tell me my thoughts were conveyed? Inconceivable… Perhaps less inconceivable given that it’s Prince Edward, the barbarian demon king, who’s rumored to have the nobility wrapped around his fingers. As I was filled with trepidation, Prince Edward pointed at a store as he asked a question.

“Shall we buy some clothes for Erin there?”

Following the point of his finger led to a high-end fashion store, Mayra’s. Having emerged the winner of numerous fashion contests, it was currently very much in the spotlight. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it was the pioneer of fashion at the moment. The customers who frequented such a store were mainly either big-time merchants or nobility. Not a store that a petty merchant working in a relatively large store like Zeke was fit to enter. Nay, if it were the Second Prince then he would qualify… Though, that would be unnatural in its own right.

What’s up, all of a sudden? He had certainly been acting the part of Zeke up until now… and the presence of the stalker was still around. I get it… he’s testing me, isn’t he?! Playing me for a fool, thinking I would thoughtlessly enter the place, is he!? I, who am acting the part of Erin!

Ensuring that my inner anger would not be seen through, I gazed at Prince Edward, saying, “H-having clothes made at Mayra’s would be terribly unbefitting! So, only on special occasions, okay? How about we go to a cafe for now? Miria recommended a place.”

“…Is that so, alright.”

I tugged Prince Edward, who looked slightly disappointed, towards the cafe.

I won! Inwardly, I celebrated my victory.

 

We both ordered black tea and a cake set upon reaching the cafe. Prince Edward did not give off the impression that he liked sweet things, so it was unexpected. Incidentally, the stalker was situated on a seat at the end of the open terrace, watching us. However, their expression was dark. It was only to be expected, after all, they’d been forced to watch a couple’s lovey-dovey date the entire time. Judging from their inept stalking technique, they were indeed but an amateur. Most likely, they were merely tailing any person they happened upon who sported a similar build to the black cat intruder. In that case, the possibility that the tailing would drop off after a while was high.

“Erin, open your mouth.”

Prince Edward pierced a bite-sized piece of his own chocolate cake, then held it out in my direction. In layman’s terms, “Say ah.” I was honestly against it, but the me at the moment was Erin, thus I opened my mouth without hesitation. It absolutely wasn’t because the chocolate cake looked delicious!

“Mm, delicious. Have some too, Zeke.”

I cut up my own chiffon cake and offered it out. A breach in etiquette would definitely be frowned upon at a noble’s tea party. But now we were just the commoners Zeke and Erin, and therefore, it was acceptable. Thinking that made me happy, and I naturally broke into a grin. This is why I can’t quit acting!

“Yup, it’s 100 times more delicious because Erin is the one who fed it to me.”

“Ehehe, I’m happy!”

I did my utmost to ignore Prince Edward’s sweet pickup lines. I’d noticed since the date started, but this man seemed to be using his flirting as Zeke to make fun of me. Regardless, it did not make my heart flutter in the least. This black-hearted man… he was getting a kick out of making me cringe.

As if disgusted by the savagery of our lovey-dovey-ness, the stalker stood from his seat and left the store. Prince Edward and I continued with our farce even as we observed the stalker from the corners of our eyes. We continued even when, after some time had passed, we couldn’t feel any further presence surveilling us. They probably concluded that Erin was not the black cat intruder.

“Erin, shall we head off soon? Although the plan was to visit Ceanna Park after this… you must be tired of lodging at the church all the time, right? I’ve booked us some lodgings, so let’s head there instead.”

Lodgings likely meant the safe zone Prince Edward had prepared beforehand—the information exchange point.

“Sure. Truthfully speaking, I’m a little tired.”

I professed my agreement and followed Prince Edward out of the shop.

Now then, once we arrive at the lodgings I will have words with this black-hearted prince, as Julianna. Words. You hear me?


Author’s note: As it’s a pseudo-medieval period, there are plenty of confectioneries. Julianna and Edward are both sadistic types who hate to lose. The biggest victim in today’s date is the stalker. I’m currently agonizing over whether to write this farce of a date from Edward’s point of view.

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