What Should I Do (Finne’s Side)
Two weeks have passed since the beginning of the summer holidays.
Riefenstahl Castle is very comfortable. But, well, it really is a castle.
It doesn’t feel like I’m staying over at a friend’s house at all.
I wanted to talk normally with her like we did at school, but since Liselotte is always surrounded like with servants, it’s like she’s a real princess… It’s a little hard to approach her.
“Finne, it seems that you have become much more well-mannered recently?”
As she said that, Lady Liselotte elegantly smiled.
No way. There’s no way I can measure up to this young lady’s standards at all. Every time I move every gesture feels crude and I find myself blushing in shame.
‘As you are a guest in my home, I will be deeply troubled if you cannot properly participate in tea parties,’ Liselotte said that to me a few days ago, and although I was expecting some desperately harsh spartan training, even though she was firm, she kindly taught me as best she could.
The future Queen, Lady Liselotte, is a truly ideal person to learn from, but when I compare myself to her overflowing aura I sadly can’t stand beside her at all.
“I still… have a long way to go.”
As I said that, I sighed and slightly slouched in my chair.
Noticing how Lady Liselotte’s twitched as I did that, I straightened out my back again quickly and tried not to let my nervousness show on my face.
“Yes, well done. But truly, I think you are quite a quick learner after all, Finne?”
Even though Lady Liselotte said that, I definitely didn’t think I was a fast learner at all.
“When I was small, my mother had me play the【Mother and Daughter Pretend Princess Day】game every day for a week. Maybe because Lady Liselotte was acting just like how mother did when she was pretending to be a princess, I might have just remembered some old things…”
By the way, points were given for whenever I acted in a way that seemed princess-like and deducted when I didn’t, and the quality of the food at dinner would change depending on how many points I had. My mother’s judgements were way too strict, though, and after I eventually started crying about the food situation she ended the game.
“I see, so there was some foundational learning. You certainly have a good mother, don’t you? Even so, compared to my younger sisters, you’re a very diligent and most importantly quiet student. I’m particularly happy with how obedient you are.”
Lady Liselotte said that with a straight face.
There were three other sisters in this house, all younger than Lady Liselotte.
The twins Lady Adrina and Lady Katrina were both twelve years old, and the youngest Lady Cecilie was only nine.
Those three girls, who were out on a horse ride today, weren’t exactly obedient when it came to listening to Lady Liselotte.
They were still quite young so it couldn’t really be helped, but thinking that Lady Liselotte was a bit too strict on them might be part of it as well. What’s more, the three of them were a bit more selfish and tomboyish than their older sister.
Even though Lady Liselotte had invited the three of them to the instructional tea party we were having, it seemed as if they’d taken their chance to escape.
Saying that, it definitely is rare to be alone with Lady Liselotte at a tea party like this, just the two of us. Usually, she manages to ensnare at least one more person.
“By the way, I had something I wanted to ask you…”
I had been worrying about it at the academy for a while, and now after coming to this castle and seeing those three sisters, I felt even more worried than before.
Even though I know my place in society, those words that Bard-senpai had said the other day that had made me want to punch him still troubled me. I don’t think it’s a good idea for someone who is supposed to be choosing a fiancée to say things like that.
After letting everything out, Lady Liselotte frowned, her serious expression only looking sterner because of her sharp features.
After a deep, heavy and bitter sight, she finally opened her mouth to speak.
“I’m sorry… Bard might be good with a sword, but he is as dunderheaded as it gets. It’s possible that, even though he’s saying such passionate things to you, he doesn’t even realize himself that he is in love with you, Finne…”
“Is that so…?”
He was far too straight forward to consider it flirting, so he was probably just saying what he thought were facts, like I thought.
But, being told that there’s no one in this world as cute as me, that has to be more of an opinion than objective fact. Love was blind, right? If he knew what he was doing, then he’s being insincere. If he doesn’t know what he’s doing, then that’s even worse.
Unfortunately, it seems like it was the latter.
“This is how Bard has always been. He has never really been aware of the subtleties of people’s feelings, not even his own. Rather, it’s as if he just lives on instinct…”
When she said that like she was at her wit’s end, a part of me I didn’t control thought she was being too rude.
“Uh, isn’t that dangerous? Is it fine for a person like that to be the heir to the Marquis’ position?”
Putting that strange feeling of mine aside, Lady Liselotte nodded soberly to my question.
“We have always been a family that has valued brawn over brains since ancient times, so we have made sure to hire excellent clerks and secretaries to serve under and advise us for generations. Besides, Bard is keenly aware when it comes to detecting malice in people, so he should be able to manage it? Although that ability of his to sense the ill-intentions of others, I’m not so sure it comes purely from wild instinct or his intuition honed through swordsmanship… Well, in any case, I truly am sorry. I apologize for any inconvenience he has caused you.”
As she lowered her head, I wonder how many people had Lady Liselotte ever bowed her head in apology like that too before?
“No, it’s okay! I… I know my place, after all. It’s just that, um, Lady Liselotte, you gave me a warning not to be too familiar with a man who already has a fiancee, so if something happens again, can you intervene…”
As I said that weakly, Lady Liselotte looked up and gave me a strong look.
“I’ll pummel him for you.”
“…T-thank you very much.”
Pummel, as in, just with a talk, right?
Despite my worry about that, I was still grateful as Liselotte sighed languidly.
“Having said that, that man, perhaps he really is starting to realize his feelings for Finne after all…?”
The hell was that?
Managing to stifle down the inexcusably rude reaction I almost let out, I listened to Lady Liselotte slowly speak.
“As soon as the summer holidays began, I heard that Bard attempted to return our family’s heirloom sword to father after meeting with him in the royal palace. Even though it hasn’t been completely confirmed that he will inherit the position of Marquis, obviously such a thing couldn’t be accepted. Father, who heavily dotes on Bard, managed to dry his eyes for long enough to force him to go home, but I wonder if he might fall down to the status of a commoner?”
The look of ennui on her face perfectly said just how stupid she thought it all was.
Although I tried to answer her straight away, I noticed that my throat had somehow gone completely dry, so I only spoke slowly after taking a sip of tea.
“That is… ah… it can’t happen, right?”
As I managed to choke out those words with much effort after getting some tea down my throat, Liselotte spoke as if she wouldn’t really be too surprised.
“I wonder about that…? Although Bard was adopted into the main household as the eldest son, he has two younger brothers and one younger sister, so if there were some sort of scandal, such as falling in love with a common girl or some other fracas, he may find himself unavoidably disowned from the Riefenstahl family. His engagement with whichever of my sisters he chooses is still only a verbal agreement, after all.”
“W-wait a moment! I don’t want anything like that to happen! Titles are… maybe not that important, but to lose your entire family over something like that, it’s just too sad to bear!!”
“That’s… right, isn’t it…”
Saying that, Lady Liselotte trailed off into silence, sipping at her tea.
Not knowing what to say, I sipped at my tea too, but I couldn’t taste it at all.
A strange silence blanketed over us.
“Well, I understand. I’ll tell as much to Bard.”
As I was about to thank her, Lady Liselotte suddenly looked at me in a way that made me draw back awkwardly.
“However… Is it possible that…?”
“Well, say I tell Bard such a thing, the possibility that he suddenly realizes that he is truly in love with you and chooses to go against the wishes of the Riefenstahl family straight away are quite high, I think.”
Lady Liselotte wasn’t outright saying that she believed it would happen, but something in her voice made it seem like she was confident in that.
“…Even though we aren’t together at all?”
It would make some sense if we were lovers, but I was just his underclassman. There was no need to get disowned over something like this.
I asked her that with a trembling voice, but Lady Liselotte just shook her head.
“He’s the type of man who would put personal matters before his status when it came to something like this. Due to that, whether it was his position as successor, his family, my sisters, that sword, his knighthood or even you, Finne, if he truly desired one over all the others, he wouldn’t hesitate to cast the rest aside. That’s truly what I think.”
“That’s… that’s… really bad, isn’t it…?”
I felt like I was on the verge of tears as I heard Lady Liselotte’s words.
“It truly is no good. That’s why my sisters are always saying things like ‘There’s no way we can marry big brother Bard! Because that guy, he’s a blockhead! I don’t want to marry him I don’t want to marry him, I don’t waaaaaaaaaaaant to marry big brother Bard!’. That’s what I would hear the two twins say all the time. Of course, someone like Art would absolutely not do at all either…”
No, he really wouldn’t.
That said, I felt like I could feel Lady Liselotte’s opinion of Bard-senpai dropping by the second.
“Then… then… I… what should I do…?”
When I asked her that, she turned around to answer me with a smile.
“Why don’t the two of you get happily married as commoners after all, then?”
“That’s impossible. I would think about everything that Bard-senpai threw away for my entire life. I don’t think I could be truly happy if I felt like that.”
As I answered her immediately, Lady Liselotte’s look of ennui returned as she sighed.
“That is… true, isn’t it…? Honestly, what should I do?”
Was she asking me that?
Or was she asking the Goddess that bestowed a blessing on her?
I wanted to ask the Gods for help as well. Help me, God.