The Duchy of Mohnton is characterized by its expansive swamps.
Covered in a blanket of miasma, this land that is constantly humid all year round was also a major source of manastones.
The miasma that oozes from the depths of the bogs gives rise to strong magical energies. Over the course of years, this magical power crystallized into a type of gem commonly known as a manastone. Therefore, wherever the miasma is thickest, one can find more and more gathering operations.
Manastones are used to brighten rooms, as well as keep them cool in the summer and warm during the winter, they can even power the engines of ships. Lately, they have been used as a power source to keep gears turning as well. They have become a necessity to people’s daily lives.
The manastones of the Duchy of Mohnton were top quality, with high magical energy. Even if the place was called a swamp and never saw tourists, due to the demand for manastones it was quite enriched.
This has resulted in quite an indulgent food culture.
“Lord Alois! You cannot be eating things like this!”
As Camilla yelled in front of him, Alois swallowed down that fatty morsel. Fried lumps of flour and oil, with powdered sugar thickly coating its surface, it was an intensely unhealthy snack ー a doughnut.
“A-Ah, that’s not it, Camilla. Since I’m working so late tonight, if I don’t properly nourish myself――”
“How much more nourishment does your body need!?”
That excess nourishment jiggled in his gut a bit as Alois shrunk into his chair. As he leaned back like that, it was as if his neck disappeared, his chin instead forming a collar of fat. As she saw the sweat ooze out from the folds of meat that could only be called excess chins, Camilla was filled with a sense of exasperation in her heart.
“Lord Alois, do you have any idea just how much you eat in one day? You eat in the middle of the night, then you wake up and eat breakfast, then brunch, then lunch, then afternoon tea, then dinner and then even dessert! Seven meals! That’s more than twice that of a normal person, is it not!?”
What’s more, everything he eats is either disgustingly sweet or incredibly fatty. The treats he prefers are so saccharine, it’s like eating cubes of sugar.
Camilla had also been born into a wealthy family, so she knew what it meant to have a rich diet, but this was just extraordinary. Actually, rather than a rich diet, this was just food violence.
All this greasy and fatty food were like heavy blows to Camilla’s stomach. Thanks to that, Camilla wasn’t eating much.
But still, Alois exceeds Camilla’s imagination.
“Camilla, that’s not true. Before sleeping, I take another simple dinner, so it’s actually eight meals.”
As Alois said something so outrageous as if it were nothing at all, Camilla yelled far louder than she had intended. Startled, she pressed her hands over her mouth. Even though she hadn’t held back her sharp tongue before when it came to calling Alois fat or a toad, she realized that just now she had gone too far.
Despite everything, the person in front of her was still a duke from the royal bloodline. Camilla was both lower in stature as a count’s daughter and also younger by five years, she wasn’t in a position to speak to him like that.
But, Alois didn’t seem too troubled by Camilla’s piercing words, laughing as he took another bite. ‘Now now’, he shook his thick hands sticky with sugar, trying to soothe her. Camilla felt dizzy.
“It wouldn’t do to simply leave something that had been made with such great care. So, please overlook it, just for today. From tomorrow onwards, I’ll be more diligent.”
As Alois laughed, his whole body shook. It was like a toad puffing itself up.
Such a man was to be Camilla’s future husband.
Thinking back, Alois had always been like this since they first met.
It had been one week prior, after Camilla had just arrived in the Mohnton lands. He didn’t become enraged when Camilla insulted his figure to his face, or when she starkly refused to kiss him.
Even when Camilla said “I will not marry you”, he reacted the same way. She would rather be killed than marry such an ugly man. When she had told him such a thing so bluntly, Alois simply laughed as if it were some minor quibble.
If you were to put it in a kind way, you could say that he was as tolerant as he was rotund. But to put it another way, you could say he was weak against cruel words and unable to stand up for himself. No matter how mad Camilla was, if Alois shrugs his shoulders and simply says that he’s in the wrong, she’ll eventually quiet down and the storm will pass. No matter what Camilla says, Alois never got angry and very rarely refuted her. He just nodded along, telling her that he will ‘do his best’.
However, Camilla hasn’t seen an ounce of this effort. With that same mouth that he used to say he would ‘do his best’, he devoured meat as if he were drinking water and ate an unending supply of sweets.
In what way was he any different to a beast? Camilla had no answer.
―――― How could I ever marry such a man?
After leaving Alois’ study, Camilla’s looked to the floor as she sighed.
Leaning against the closed door, her shoulders slumped. Surely, back in that room, Alois is happily eating his doughnuts again now that Camilla isn’t there to bother him.
Those sugar encrusted hands. The floor covered in crumbs and leftovers. The doughnuts disappearing as if falling into a pit. Just the thought of it made Camilla tremble.
So long as she kept her distance and simply exchanged words, she could keep her composure. Since Alois isn’t as gloomy as the rumours say and seemed quite weak in character, that is the answer. Although, it would become another issue entirely if they were married.
If they became a real couple, those thick hands would grab at Camilla as if he were greedily swiping another doughnut. He would kiss Camilla with that toad-like face and that greasy skin of his would press against Camilla’s own.
Just the thought of it sent a cold chill up Camilla’s spine.
―― I cannot marry him if he stays like this, absolutely not…!!
The thought of Liselotte and the other women in high society giggling and laughing at the idea of Camilla marrying Alois flashed through her mind. Putting aside Liselotte, who she was never on good terms with in the first place, the idea of being laughed at by those who used to follow her and even had their statuses raised by associating with Camilla hurts the most. How can they just use and abandon her like that?
“――I won’t give up. I’ll make sure to show you all…!”
Alois is an inheritor of the royal bloodline. And in that royal family, everyone is excessively good looking. So, perhaps, the same could be said for Alois if he lost all that weight.
The most important thing was his grey hair and magical, red eyes, characteristics unique to the royal line. Although he only belongs to a branch family, it’s clear that royal blood still runs strongly in his veins.
“If that’s the case, I simply have to get him to lose weight… It’s bad for his health being that fat, and it’s just a waste of his good blood.”
“Who are you calling a waste?”
Camilla let out a yelp as a voice cut in out of nowhere. As she looked around in a hurry, she saw a middle-aged woman standing in the hallway, dimly illuminated by a lit candlestick.
“Do you have some complaint about Lord Alois?”
It was Gerda, the head maid, who had served the Montchat family faithfully for many years. Her slim figure stands in stark contrast to Alois’, coupled with her tightly gathered hair and furrowed eyebrows, she leaves a stern impression.
“Were you bothering Lord Alois who is working so late into the night?”
“Were you intending to spoil the few pleasures of the ever labouring Lord Alois?”
“That’s not why…”
Gerda’s stern gaze held Camilla captive. Sheer animosity swam in those dark green eyes.
“Do you even understand your position at all? A wicked girl who conspired to seduce Prince Julian and disparage Her Highness?”
Camilla’s shoulders twitched at those words. She raised her face and glared back at Gerda, but she couldn’t say anything. The way she looked at Camilla, it was as if she were staring at a dying insect on its back, twitching its last.
“The only reason you walk free is due to His Highness Prince Julian’s mercy and Lord Alois’ generous spirit. Otherwise, a woman like you would be dead in some filthy ditch. I will thank you for understanding just where you stand from now on, see to it that you don’t misunderstand your place again.”
She opened her mouth to argue back, but no words came out. It’s true, Camilla’s position was just as Gerda had said. To the people of this world, Camilla was a ‘villain’ whom everyone longed to see exiled. If Camilla truly was this ‘villain’ then she should be thankful that she’s even being allowed the opportunity to breathe free air.
“From now on, don’t do anything unnecessary. If Lord Alois sees fit to cast you out, you will have nowhere to go. Don’t you ever forget that.”
After saying so, she curtly opened the door to the study and entered as if Camilla weren’t even there, leaving her standing stunned in the hallway.
In front of the room that Gerda had just entered. Two of the manor’s maids passed by Camilla, who was still standing in shocked silence. When they saw Camilla, they quickly hurried on, not even sparing her a single pleasantry.
“Hey, isn’t she the one?”
As they were leaving, the two maids’ whisperings reached Camilla’s ears.
“That villainess from the stories? She really does look the part after all.”
“I feel so sorry for poor Lord Alois. No matter how he looks, he should be able to marry a much better lady.”
“Then, why don’t you be his bride?”
“Oh, you, I was just kidding.”
In that dark hallway, in the dead of the night, the gossiping of those two careless maids echoed through the corridors. Those maids who were none the wiser giggled to themselves as they kept walking deeper into the mansion.
A chill and damp wind whistled through the hallway as if to drown out the girls’ ridicule.
Camilla still stood alone, rooted to the spot.
Just some housekeeping notes about this series:
1 – I’ll be aiming to release daily, mostly because the chapters are quite short (1k-1.5k words compared to the 2.5k+ words per chapter of MotoMusu). It’ll also be my priority series going forward over my other ones, for now at least.
2 – I’m trying to be a bit more strict with this translation. I won’t be changing the formatting of the novel to a bulkier western style (because I’m lazy), but I won’t be keeping in things such as SFX or honorifics like I sometimes do with other series. Ironically, I will be keeping the Japanese title going forward, though I’ll be shortening it to ‘Yasesasetai’ when talking about it.
3 – The illustrations will be up on the 18th. I wasn’t going to release today, but since two different people released their versions of the prologue out of nowhere I don’t really have a choice, since I don’t want to get gazumped.