Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 06: Problematic Children’s Ploy
Author’s note: Continuing with Silas’ POV.
—Royal Palace of the Rowlands Family.
The celebration ceremony for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Rowlands Kingdom had ended two days ago, so the people who worked in the royal castle were liberated from the torrent of work, and this allowed them to return to their usual duties. During one of these ordinary days, a vein popped out in a man’s forehead. He headed to his superior’s side at a quick pace.
His name was Silas Inglot. He was the heir to House Inglot, one of the Pillars of the Royal Family and had been loyal retainers since the kingdom’s founding. He currently served as the personal aide of the second prince, Lord Edward, but he was said to be the top candidate to become the next Prime Minister. He had married the First Princess Shelly three months ago, but he hadn’t returned home often due to being swamped with work. That was how pitiful he was.
Everyone who passed by him in the hallway did a double-take out of shock. But that was to be expected since it was clear from his face that the “Cold-blooded Aide,” who was merciless to those who wronged the second prince, was angry. The crowd of people in the hallway readily opened the way for him, but he didn’t pay them any mind and briskly made his way through. After some time, he finally arrived at his destination: the office of the Second Prince, Lord Edward.
After a brisk knock, he entered the room to the sight of Edward tidying up some documents. As he saw the prince doing this, Silas deeply inhaled.
“You, idiot prince! Why did you send a summons to the daughter of Marquess Lewis?!!!”
The Cold-blooded Aide’s scream echoed throughout the room.
# # # # # # # #
(Silas’ point of view)
“Who are you calling an idiot? Hey, Silas, if this room wasn’t completely soundproof, you’ll currently be on your way to prison for committing lèse-majesté.”
I saw Prince Edward cackle and felt stabbing pain in my stomach. What exactly has this idiot prince done—err, I meant, I was pleased to see that Prince Edward was aware of his actions and enjoying himself. My childhood friend was six years younger than me and was known as the “Ideal Prince,” but in actuality, he was a problematic child. However, he wasn’t your average problematic child. He was an absolutely problematic one and caused problems even though he knew the consequences of his actions fully well. Generally, he didn’t do anything wrong, so his actions were never publicly known… Or rather, it was because those closest to him, including me, cleaned up after him. Additionally, his problematic behavior ended up benefiting the country in the end on the rare occasion, so although it irritated me, I couldn’t say that the prince wasn’t thinking of his actions. He was always seeking to solve problems in ways he found interesting…to the point that it became a bad habit of his.
And this prince had just sent a personal summons to a lady of House Lewis, a family so great that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call them one of the Three Great Houses of our nation.
Summonses were letters that royalty used to forcibly “summon” people (mainly nobles). To receive such a letter meant that whatever the reason may be, the noble must appear before the royal family member who summoned them before the appointed date. No matter how far away they lived, how critical their injuries were, or how close to death a beloved family member may be, they were obligated to appear. If the noble was unable to comply with the summons, their entire household would be executed for treason, so nobles didn’t have the right to refuse. Only the royal family was allowed to brandish such coercive power, but the king’s authorization was still needed to issue a summons.
Summonses were usually used to quickly gather people in times of emergency or to summon criminals. The receiver of a summons should “prepare” themselves to a certain degree. And such a letter had been sent personally to the daughter of Marquess Lewis.
If things turned into a scandal with this lady, House Lewis might become an enemy of Prince Edward… Despite the fact that there were already nobles who planned to support the First Prince, Lord Douglas, as the next king… This was like painting a target on the second prince’s back. I hoped there was some kind of important reason for the lady to be summoned. Well, it was highly likely to involve that one when it came to Prince Edward. I wagered my ray of hope and asked.
“Lord Edward, why did you send a summons to the daughter of Marquess Lewis?”
“Oh, that? It’s because Marquess Lewis’ daughter is ‘Lia’.”
“You remember that you had another lady over the other day, claiming the same thing, but she wasn’t Lia, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. She was truly a worthless lady.”
“I doubt the daughter of Marquess Lewis is your ‘Lia’ either.”
“She doesn’t share a single similarity to the unique qualities you told us about ‘Lia’… You should know that best.”
“It’s exactly because she doesn’t have any similarities. She’s the only woman to win against me, remember?”
I felt a headache coming on. Prince Edward’s obsession was intense. I doubt it was only my imagination that it increased every year.
A knock echoed through the office. After a maid announced, “Captain Kiel Maybrick of the Third Order of Royal Knights has arrived.” Kiel casually said, “Hey!” before entering the room. I was extremely envious of his carefree attitude.
I switched over to my professional mode. When I looked to my side, Prince Edward also turned into his “Ideal Prince” persona.
“Captain Kiel, what business do you have here?”
“No need to make such a scary face, Silas. I called him here.”
As usual, Prince Edward’s transformation was disgust—ahem, I meant, wonderful. Since Prince Edward called Kiel here, it meant that there must be something important to discuss. It can’t be helped. It was time for me to shine as the “Cold-blooded Aide.”
“You may leave,” I said conclusively to the maid.
“But… I have yet to serve you all tea…”
“I said you may leave. We do not need to be served anything.”
I ordered the maid again after she protested. The maid reluctantly left the room. Now, Prince Edward, Kiel, and I were the only ones left in the room.
“Jeez, she didn’t immediately obey Silas, the aide of the second prince and the next duke… Is she really a maid of the royal palace? She’s too obvious for a spy. She must have really underestimated me.”
Prince Edward reverted to his natural self and looked at the door the maid left through with flabbergasted eyes.
“Eh?! That maid is a spy?!” Kiel shouted.
I chose to ignore Kiel’s dumb outburst and continued my discussion with Prince Edward.
“Lord Edward, what will you do if something scandalous comes out of your summons to the daughter of Marquess Lewis?! You had used an invitation, not a summons, for the last lady you called here, right?! Depending on the situation, it’s possible that even House Olcott will become your enemy!”
The wife of Marquess Lewis, Lady Elizabeth, was the youngest sister of Duke Olcott and a beauty known as “Olcott’s Hidden Treasure.” She passed away after giving birth to Lady Julianna since her body had always been weak, and so Duke Olcott, who had always doted on his youngest sister, showed favoritism to Lady Julianna since she was like the exact copy of Lady Elizabeth.
If both House Lewis and House Olcott became our enemy… Oh, just thinking about it scared me. Yet Prince Edward boldly laughed and did not pay me any mind.
“I know that. That’s why I used a summons. If it had been an invitation, she could have used her family’s authority as an excuse to escape. Besides, the fact that I was able to send a summons makes it clear that I have the king’s approval, Silas.”
“It’s just as Ed said, Silas. I’m sure he has something in mind.”
After I heard those words from Kiel, I glared at him.
“Kiel, are you aware that Lord Edward sent a summons to the daughter of Marquess Lewis?”
“Eh? Yeah, I mean, I was the one who delivered it.”
“The captain of the Third Order of Royal Knights personally delivered…”
“She might not have accepted it if I didn’t go, you know?”
“This is unprecedented— to summon a single noblewoman in such a way! What have you two done?!”
“Don’t be so angry, Silas. You’ll open another hole in your stomach.”
“And whose fault do you think that is?! Argh, what do you think will happen if the daughter of Marquess Lewis isn’t ‘Lia’? The young lady would feel hurt if she was called here after you mistook her for another woman, yes? If that happens…you know that the people around her will not remain silent!”
“If Julianna isn’t ‘Lia’…then I guess I just made enemies with House Lewis and House Olcott.”
“’Just’…? Listen well, Prince Edward. If you hurt her, that man you’re trying to win over will absolutely turn against you. Rather, he’ll proactively attempt revenge on you.”
“Hey, is Miss Lewis really ‘Lia’? I don’t think so, and I even delivered the summons.”
I nodded in agreement with Kiel. In the first place, we thought that Lady Julianna was far too different from the ‘Lia’ we had heard about.
“You had described her to have bronze-colored hair and chocolate-colored eyes, and she should be 18 years old now.”
“However, Lady Julianna has honey-blonde hair and deep purple eyes. She is also 17 years old. Leaving aside the matter of hair color and age, I doubt she could change her eye color.”
“Also, ‘Lia’ was able to outwit you, right, Ed? When you think of Miss Lewis, you imagine everyone’s idol, the belle of society. Do you think a noblewoman raised so preciously can do that~? A peer of mine asked her out at the last party… He was all excited because he claimed she was slightly shy and extremely cute.”
I recalled Lady Julianna at that time.
“Appearances, pedigree, refinement, dance, and gestures…all aspects are perfect, earning her the name of ‘Perfect Lady.’ I’ve talked with her before, so I can definitely say that her personality is also graceful, reserved, and gentle. If she had any flaws…it would have to be that she cares for her younger brother a bit too much.”
“That’s probably not a flaw… I think she purposely made her brother complex public to show she isn’t completely perfect. I understand if you don’t trust my hypothesis, but the summons has already been sent, so there’s nothing we can do now. In any case, if Julianna really is ‘Lia’, then I would get my hands on a wonderful pawn. A reward worth the risk, right?”
“Yes, if Julianna is ‘Lia’, I’ll have her infiltrate the capital’s church.”
“—Infiltrate?! I know that it’s difficult to grasp their movements now and we welcome a third-party’s help, but… I highly doubt a marquess’ daughter is capable of such.”
“But the ‘Lia’ Ed always speaks about with sparkling eyes can do it, right?”
“You understand me, Kiel. It’s exactly that. She’ll be the greatest pawn.”
Kiel and I muttered, and our shocked voices echoed throughout the room. If Prince Edward got his hands on ‘Lia’, he surely wouldn’t ever let her go. I pray for you, ‘Lia’, whom I’ve yet to meet.
Prince Edward left his office for the time being and headed to the Records Office with his escorts. He said with a smile, “I’m going to pick up the ultimate weapon,” but I was certain that he surely wasn’t up to anything good.
Afterwards, I also returned to my work. I will have to mediate a peaceful exchange between Marquess Lewis’ daughter and Prince Edward. Would my stomach begin to hurt again…?
“I really don’t think the daughter of Marquess Lewis is ‘Lia’…”
My words faded away without anyone hearing them. Because a certain somebody had to cause trouble, I would not be able to go home today. Sigh…and I just recently got married.
# # # # # # # #
“It is true that I am the ‘Lia’ Your Highness has been searching for. It has been a while. How would you like me to greet you now?”
Lady Julianna stopped pretending to be the nervous eldest daughter of Marquess Lewis and began munching on the snacks. Even though I sympathized with her, it still took some time to get it through my head.
To think that Lady Julianna really was ‘Lia’… Even as she conversed with Prince Edward in his natural state, the sight felt surreal. By the way, when I looked over at Kiel, I saw that he was frozen with his mouth wide open. I think you should do something about that stupid look on your face, Kiel.
“So, what does Lord Edward desire from a marquess’ daughter?”
“Become my pawn, Julianna.”
“I don’t want to.”
“You have no right to reject. You understand, don’t you?”
To naturally mix arguments and sarcasm in a conversation with Prince Edward… I finally accepted that Lady Julianna was ‘Lia’. Still, what a dastardly smile the prince had on his face. It exuded savagery.
“And, specifically, what will you have me do as your pawn?”
“Do you like sweets?”
“I like them. Anyway, can you please answer my question?”
Lady Julianna continued to munch on sweets as she glared at Prince Edward. She certainly wouldn’t have ever displayed such a face when she acted as the “Perfect Lady”… This might open up a new door for some people. Prince Edward shrugged his shoulders to jest… He certainly looked extremely pleased, like a child who was just given a new toy. I became worried about Lady Julianna’s well-being. Please don’t entertain Prince Edward any more than this!
And the room fell silent. The upset Lady Julianna and the joyful Prince Edward… I lacked the courage to plunge into this silence.
When I thought I finally would, the dumbfounded Kiel suddenly burst out into laughter.
“Pft, hahahahahahahaha! A~ah, that’s hilarious. Both the lady and Ed are so interesting~.”
“This isn’t something to laugh at, Kiel.”
“But, Silas, isn’t she amazing? She can still hold a conversation with Ed even after knowing his true nature! Moreover, she’s the ‘Perfect Lady.’ As if I could remain stoic!”
As my headache worsened, I inwardly applauded Kiel. Nice job! Thank you for breaking that silence. I guess meatheads can be helpful sometimes.
“I apologize, Lady Julianna. Kiel and I didn’t think you were the one Lord Edward was searching for and acted impolitely. We were making sure that you had the ability to act as our collaborator. I would like to apologize again.”
Lady Julianna had been looking at us with a frown on her face, so I quickly apologized to her. I thought I saw her give me a pitiful look for a moment after my apology. No, it probably was my imagination.
“So, what must I do to be acknowledged by you, gentlemen?”
“You’ve exceeded my expectations. There was merit in searching around for you.”
“I think so too. There’s no one more qualified than you!”
“I also have no objections. As expected of a daughter from House Lewis.”
In response to Lady Julianna’s question, Prince Edward, Kiel, and I replied in that order. If possible, I did want Prince Edward to have Lady Julianna as his pawn. However, given Prince Edward’s obsession… I will support Lady Julianna as much as possible.
And, now that Lady Julianna had become an important collaborator, I began to explain her mission in the capital’s church.
“I apologize for the numerous disrespectful acts I have demonstrated towards Your Highness. Please forgive me. Please do what you feel is appropriate for my punishment.”
After my explanation, Lady Julianna apologized to Prince Edward. It appeared that she had gotten a bit angry. Well…that was the expected response to suddenly being told to become someone’s pawn.
“I was the one who told you to drop the act. Both the ‘Perfect Lady’ and your true self were quite amusing. That’s why I won’t punish you. As long as we’re not out in public, feel free to act as yourself before me.”
“You have my utmost gratitude. Then I shall take my leave. If I stay here too long, the spies may become suspicious.”
“Yeah, good luck with the infiltration.”
“Give it your all, miss!”
“Lady Julianna… I deeply apologize. Please do your best. I will also do all that I can…”
I didn’t hide my sympathy for Lady Julianna for having completely taken Prince Edward’s attention. Lady Julianna looked at me and made a strange face for a second before she walked towards the door.
Then, just before she opened the door, she turned around to face us with a smile on her face. As I saw that expression, I felt chills run down my back as if I had experienced this before…
“Lord Edward, I have acted in a variety of roles up until now. But, among them, I have never performed one that resembled a ‘tragic heroine’.”
When Lady Julianna said that, Prince Edward and Kiel were confused. I had more years of experience than them…and in any case, I understood that Lady Julianna was planning something wicked. I quickly attempted to stop her by calling out to her, but I was a moment too late.
Lady Julianna threw the door open and ran out.
I heard from the slightly ajar door a maid who had been waiting by the door say, “What is the matter?” to a sobbing Lady Julianna.
“P-Prince Edward…mistook me for another woman…and compared the two of us… E-even though I adored him… What should I…”
I panicked upon hearing the following words and quickly closed the door. How could this be…? A rumor that the second prince had toyed with the daughter of Marquess Lewis would surely run rampant.
“That lady’s acting ability is amazing!”
“Pft, hahahaha! As expected of the woman who won against me!”
Why were these two idiots enjoying themselves?!!!
“Don’t get so angry, Silas. That’s just her way of doing things. I doubt anyone will think that the daughter of Marquess Lewis has become the second prince’s pawn.”
“That’s true, but—”
I realized at that moment. The method of seeking to solve problems in ways that she found interesting… I knew I had experienced this before.
T h e y ‘ r e t h e s a m e !
Why did I have the foolish idea that it would be good for Prince Edward to have Lady Julianna as his pawn? If those two were on the same wavelength…something terrifying was sure to happen.
As I felt fear for the unforeseen future, I returned to my office.
I should probably increase the dosage of my stomach medicine…
# # # # # # #
I had finally returned home to House Inglot after five days. I still had mountains of work left, but I felt that if I didn’t rest my mind, I would soon die from anxiety.
When I passed through the foyer, the servants greeted me as usual. Then I heard the sound of someone running down the stairs.
“Welcome back, Silas!”
“I’m back, Shelly.”
I embraced this woman who had the same platinum blonde hair and clear, blue eyes as Prince Edward. She was Shelly Inglot. She was the former first princess and currently the wife of the next Duke Inglot, me.
“How was work? You look tired.”
Shelly tilted her head… Oh, how adorable she looked! My soul was healed.
“I still have mountains of it left… But after seeing you, Shelly, my fatigue is gone. Oh, by the way, I encountered ‘Lia’ today.”
“Did you say ‘Lia’? The one who defeated that idiot of a younger brother?! Then, your fatigue and the reason you haven’t come home is all because of that stupid brother of mine?! That ◎△$♪×￥●&$#!!!”
Shelly’s hand trembled as she gripped my sleeve. Words you wouldn’t have thought would come out of a princess’ mouth came out of hers. I was relieved to see her usual self and enjoyed my brief break.
Silas may be jaded, but since he has such a cute wife, I can’t sympathize with him. By the way, the background behind Shelly’s and Silas’ marriage is that it was a plan to strengthen the bond between the royal family and the royalists. The two had endured Edward since they were young, so they had gone through much together and treasured each other… In a way, Edward was their cupid.
In the next chapter, we’ll return to the POV of the main character, Julianna!