Liselotte’s Side (Part 2)
The first time I met him, I was only five years old. When I forgot the polite words of greeting that I had practised over and over again, it was as if time stood still. I couldn’t even remember to curtsey, so I stood rooted in place stiffly as if my soul had left my body.
“Liese… Liese… Liselotte!”
I remember that my fussing father had called out my name and snapped me out of the trance I was in. I had curtseyed hurriedly, bowing my head to him.
It was because my first meeting with the Crown Prince, His Highness Siegward, was a stunning occasion for me.
His pure blonde hair and amber eyes.
He looked just like Lilena, the Goddess of Creation, as if he had suddenly stepped out of the pages of myth.
Even though he was still so young, his delicate charm and good looks were obvious to everyone that saw him, but above all, his warm and gentle smile lit something deep within me. He was like a fairytale prince. I still feel the same way now.
Thinking back on it now, it was probably love at first sight.
When the adults had told us to play together as they discussed business, we left for the garden of the Royal Palace, but I don’t remember what we did.
All I can remember was how happy I was just to gaze at him. With his kind smile and beautiful face, it was like he was an impossible ideal.
Later that day, when I was told that in the future I would be marrying this ‘Prince’ when I grew up, I was over the moon.
I remember excitedly telling my father just how amazing I thought Siegward was. About how I liked him and hoped that he would like me. About how I would do my best at both the Queen’s education and my sword and magic training as a Lady of the Riefenstahl family. Even during the etiquette classes that other noble children dreaded, I would do everything I could.
Then, with a strange sadness in his expression, my father smiled as he stroked my head.
“I don’t mind if you tell me such things, but remember to keep these feelings of yours a secret, Liselotte. For His Highness isn’t in a position where he can talk about what he likes and dislikes.”
“That is because he will one day become this country’s king. As the Crown Prince, if he says he loves one thing or hates another, it could very easily impact politics because of the influence his position holds. He too knows this all too well. Of course, no one would be happier than I if the both of you had a good relationship with one another, but if you try and push your own selfish feelings of liking him or wanting to be liked back onto him, you risk driving him into a corner.”
To put it simply, even though I didn’t understand it back then, I know now that love has very little to do with the realities of a political marriage.
Even if I expressed my feelings of affection, he wasn’t in a position to openly reciprocate them.
But at the time, I was still just a child. “It’s so strange that he can’t say what he really likes or dislikes. I feel sorry for him.” Even though I seemed to accept my father’s words on the surface, those were my true thoughts back then.
Yet with those thoughts nestled in the corner of my mind, as I saw more of Prince Siegward, I slowly began to realize that although he was the kind of person who would smile anywhere and at any time, his eyes never reflected that warmth. It wasn’t as if you could see horrible emotions in them. Rather, you couldn’t glean anything from those cold eyes at all.
At first, I thought it was simply his naturally calm disposition, but when I thought about how it was really a reflection of how much he had to hold back his feelings, somehow it made me want to cry.
“Father, I… I want to support him. Even if he cannot love anyone, I want to love him. I want to stand by his side.”
Last year, I declared that to my father.
Before attending the academy myself, I came to tour the grounds and coincidentally saw His Highness surrounded by all sorts of people.
Artur Richter wasn’t there at the time, yet His Highness shared his smile equally with all of them.
To show favour to all was to show favour to none.
Apart from Artur Richter, who was a special person to His Highness, I, who was his fiancée for the time being, and the girl he had yet to meet then but was surely friends with now, Finne…
Apart from a select few people, because of the shifting tides of noble political allegiance, he had no choice but to keep the students of the school at an arm’s length.
It was only then that I finally understood.
It was so sad and lonely that I felt like crying.
In the beginning, I had admired him.
Then, that turned into compassion and sympathy for his circumstances.
The feelings that had built up in my heart had blossomed into a deep love.
Before I realized it, that person who was drowning in his own loneliness despite being beloved by so many… I loved him. I loved him so much.
Therefore, I was happy just being able to watch him from afar.
I was happy just to be seen and respected as such a person’s fiancée.
Even if we had only ever met formally, I was happy.
It was then that it came.
I do not mean Finne. But, it was something that appeared at the same time Finne did, that thing.
By the time I had noticed its strange existence, that thing had already burrowed its way into the depths of my heart.
After that, whenever I saw Finne together with His Highness, my heart raged.
I felt swallowed up by all the horrible thoughts that poured into me.
Please don’t hate me.
I love you.
Don’t look at anyone else.
I hate that girl.
Don’t take my light away.
I love you.
I hate you.
I love you.
Why are you pushing me away, ■■■■■■■■?
Whenever I was swallowed up by that thing, my expression would turn ugly, twisted and warped with jealousy. Venomous bile in the form of words spewed from my mouth, and my body did terrible things.
“Finne. It is unbecoming to be so familiar with a gentleman who already has a fiancée. Putting the case of Artur and Bard aside… His Highness is officially engaged to me. Even if you do not care about what people think, there might still be trouble if you are gossiped about in vulgar rumours related to His Highness and me. Could you please keep that in mind?”
Why is it that I can only speak in such a curt and uptight way?
If I only say things like that over and over again, I’ll be hated.
Even if he disliked or hated something, he wouldn’t say it. He couldn’t say it.
Did he already hate me? There’s no way for me to know.
Thinking back… Ah, those were the words I had said just a little while ago…
『Liselotte’s jealousy is plain to see!』
『It must be the influence of the Ancient Witch, don’t you agree? Why else would she look so pained when she said such jealous things?』
Suddenly, I heard two voices. They were strong but warm.
【The Ancient Witch】
The moment I heard the woman’s voice say that, somehow I knew what it was instinctively. It was that. That black thing.
That horrible existence that had driven me to bear a grudge against Finne.
The true nature of it, the real identity of that thing, was an Ancient Witch.
『Wait, Liselotte has suddenly fainted…!? Is this really due to the influence of the Ancient Witch’s spell in an attempt to undermine Liselotte…!?』
This didn’t feel like the usual nightmares. Usually, they dwelled on things that had happened, never letting me escape the darkness, but this was different. Just what were these strange voices?
『We won’t let you get away with this, Ancient Witch! Rize-tan, I’ll definitely protect you, okay!? I promise that I will absolutely not let you die, okay!?』
When I heard that woman’s powerful shout, I felt something stir in my heart.
『But unfortunately, our voices can’t reach Liselotte…!』
『That’s right. We have no choice but to hope that Sieg will do his best. All we can do is have faith that he’ll listen to our commentary and then pray that Rize-tan can be happy, stay alive, find love with the person she adores the most, and be strong enough not to lose to the Witch… All we can do is pray.』
As they repeated those heartfelt words over and over again, slowly but surely, it felt as if a warm and gentle power flowed from them, denying the power of that hateful, dark thing.
I managed to calm down.
Ah, maybe for once, I might be able to get a good night’s sleep.
It was then that I suddenly felt the sensation of my stiff body being lifted up.
Up I went, swaying softly side to side.
For some reason, I felt relieved.
Like this, I would be alright. That’s what I thought.
『Uwaaaaah… T-That’s a powerful princess carry…!』
The woman’s voice sounded somewhat strained.
『Ah, stop it, Kobayashi-san! That hurts!』
The man tried to calm the woman down, but it didn’t seem to be going well. In fact, she only got more excited.
『But Sieg is princess carrying Liselotte! That never happens in the game…!』
When I heard the woman’s happy voice, I felt happy too. I’m happy. I’m glad. I love him.
『I-I get it, I get it already so… Wait, Liselotte is smiling…? It’s like she’s happy just being near Sieeeeg! As for Sieg, it looks like he’s struggling to contain himself because Liselotte is so cute!』
『As expected of Liselotte. She possesses incredible destructive power even when she’s unconscious.』
What nonsense were they talking about? It’d be impossible for me to be ‘cute,’ as they had called me.
This really was just a dream then, after all. A strange and mysterious dream. A strange dream, but… a happy one. I preferred it to the nightmares I usually suffered through.
The voices of those two faded away. I fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.
But as I fell into that sleep, I only had one thing on my mind.
So long as I never lose sight of my love for Prince Siegward, I won’t fear the Ancient Witch. I will remain myself.
And with those words, I was convinced.
Man, the web novel version is a little different from the light novel from around this point on when it comes to the ordering of scenes. For example, this chapter is at the very end of the LN and happens in pretty different circumstances. Hard to tell which does it better though, they’re both good in their own way.
At the very least, you can look forward to the manga being quite different if it follows the LN.
Edited by: mazaran