His Majesty’s Stomach is in Agony Today
Orfans El Palletia, King of Palletia, was gracefully enjoying a well-earned tea break in his palace office.
The governmental duties that a King has to carry out can be taxing, so one learns to savour the few spare moments of peace. It’s important for your health to take a step back from work every once in a while, and that even goes for a King.
…If he didn’t convince himself of that, he wouldn’t be able to. There’s always one problem or another cropping up in the administration, and what’s more, there’s several other major worries that he can never quite push aside. When his mind wandered, the face of a certain prodigal daughter came to mind, and he shook his head vigorously as if trying to banish it from his thoughts.
Recently, that outrageous daughter of his has been suspiciously quiet. He’d love to think that she’s sorted out her act, but he wasn’t so naïve. Without a doubt, this was merely the calm before the storm.
No good will come from mulling over it constantly, though. Pushing the thought to the furthest corner of his mind, he busied himself with his work, praying that nothing would happen. However, Orfan’s sincere wish to the heavens was resoundingly and remorselessly shattered barely a moment later.
“Your Majesty! Sire! Please excuse my interruption! I bring an urgent report! Princess Anne-Sophia is…!”
“…Ahh, for goodness’ sake! What is it this time?! Just what has that girl done now?!”
A shouting knight who had opened the door to his study had broken the news of the oncoming storm. It was a shout that signaled the return to the ‘normal’ lunacy.
Orfans cast a rueful eye towards the heavens, then with one hand clutching his stomach which felt like it was preemptively sprouting a stress ulcer, he waved with his other hand to prompt the knight to report.
“Her Highness has invaded the Royal Palace using a flying magical tool! She has said that she requests an audience with Your Majesty, and…”
“And, what?! Spit it out man, let me hear it!”
“Y-Yes! Princess Anne-Sophia is in the company of Lady Euphilia, daughter to Duke Magneta. And, uh, at this point in time we believe this may be a kidnapping…!”
“Just what the hell has she done this time, that punk daughter of mine?!?!”
Lady Euphilia Magneta, daughter to the Duke. As soon as he heard the name of his son, Algard’s, fiancee mentioned in the same breath as his daughter’s, Orfans felt an enormous dizzying spell wash over him, and he almost fell back into his chair.
He was certain that this evening was meant to mark the occasion of the graduation party at the National Aristocratic Academy. But, just why was that girl here now? He couldn’t help but wonder. The more he thought about it, the knight’s theory about this being a kidnapping was growing more and more likely. He wouldn’t put much past his daughter, after all.
“Bring her in right away! Euphilia as well!”
“A-As you command!”
Heaving a heavy sigh as the knight dashed back down the hallway, Orfans opened one of the drawers in his desk and removed a flask of medicine. It was stomach medicine, intended to combat the effects the stress his daughter’s antics put him under had on his stomach.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this flask of medicine was Orfan’s most steadfast ally against the coming onslaught, though the irony was that this medicine itself was developed by none other than Anne-Sophia herself. Orfans recalled that, back when he found that out for the first time, he nearly sunk to his knees in despair.
Taking a deep breath, he sat back down in his chair. He heard the knight’s voice again from the other side of the door, requesting permission this time to enter. The moment he granted it, the door opened, and two people walked into his office.
“Good evening, father! Sorry for dropping by so suddenly!”
Tee hee! Orfans felt a migraine coming on as he stared at Anne-Sophia, who had waltzed into the room without a care in the world. When he saw what she held, he prayed once more that this would all just end up to be a strange fever dream.
Since, slung over the Princess’ shoulder was none other than Euphilia, her face downcast. When Anne-Sophia hoisted her off her shoulder and let her stand on her own two feet, Euphilia’s eyes widened and her face paled as she realized just where she found herself.
“Y-Your Highness! I beg your pardon for my rudeness! P-Please forgive me!”
“No matter. I know that this isn’t your fault, it’s all because of that idiot. Now then, Anise?”
“Report. Just what on earth have you done this time…?”
“Father, let me just say this first, but this time I’m really not the only one at fault!”
“Oh? I’ll be the judge of that, after I hear what you have to say. So?”
“I was doing a night-flight test, and just as I was on the verge of a new breakthrough, I suddenly found myself crashing the Academy’s party! Via the window!”
“You… utter fooool!!”
Orfans jumped out of his chair, rounded his desk and, approaching Anne-Sophia, brought his fist down on top of her head.
GYARGH! With a decidedly un-ladylike scream, Anne-Sophia clutched her head. As his daughter looked up at him with teary puppy dog eyes, Orfans’ migraine kicked into overdrive.
“You… You…! Just how many times do you have to do these things before it finally gets through your thick skull to perhaps stop and think, first?! Or is there just a big empty space between your ears?!”
“Father, progress was never made by anyone afraid of failure!”
“But you could take some damned precautions, is what I’m saying! Repeating the same thing over and over expecting a new result is the height of lunacy, you fool!”
Again, another fist to the top of the head. This time, Anne-Sophia knelt down, as she held her head. Orfans’ shoulders heaved as he took deep breaths in an attempt to calm down.
Though he said all that, so far nearly dying whilst crashing one of the most important events of the year’s social calendar was within the scope of what he had come to expect from his daughter, but Euphilia being here was outside of his wildest expectations. Now then, just why on earth was she here?
“Euphilia, why are you with Anise?”
When Orfans turned to ask her directly, Euphilia stumbled over her words, biting her bottom lip and staring at the floor. Orfans couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow when he saw that.
In Orfans’ mind, Euphilia was already essentially his daughter, even if she wasn’t officially yet. He had a bad feeling about all this, when he saw how the girl who would one day be the Queen of the next generation was trembling slightly in front of him. He knew that something was wrong, and instinctually he also knew that it wasn’t just because of this absurd situation.
“Allie said he’d cancel his engagement, Father.”
“Like I said, Allie is gonna cancel his engagement.”
“Cancel his engagement.”
“Who? With who, again?”
“Allie, with Miss Euphilia.”
“Who said they’d do that? Algard did?”
“Like I said, it was Allie!”
As Anne-Sophia finished delivering her report whilst rubbing her sore head, Orfans stood in silence for a long time. He needed all that time to truly digest what he’d just heard, after all.
When the pieces finally came together in his head, his stomach twisted like it never had before, and he almost doubled over from the pain. Forcing himself to endure it to preserve his dignity and pride as the nation’s sovereign, he turned to speak to Euphilia, the corners of his mouth twitching.
“My apologies. But, could you do me a favour and tell me that I’m having a nightmare? Euphilia, please?”
“…I would, Your Highness, but it’s a grave crime to lie to the King.”
As Euphilia confirmed this wretched reality with a bowed head, Orfans felt like he’d spit blood.
In Orfan’s mind, this was the worst possible turn of events.
“W-Why?! Just why did he break his engagement in the middle of a party?! Why didn’t he say a damn word to me?! If he had, I would’ve had the chance to knock some damn sense into Algard’s skull before he could do something so stupid!!”
“Oh, it seems that Allie has a new girlfriend other than Miss Euphilia as well, Father.”
“Who the hell?! …Impossible, is it that baron’s daughter?!”
The rumour about Algard having fallen in love with a low-ranking Baron’s daughter flitted through Orfan’s mind.
He didn’t specifically mind his son falling in love with someone, but that’s something that you should be open about with your main wife, and only pursue with her consent.
“Certainly, I’ve heard that he has become enamoured with her… but to go so far as to break his engagement with Euphilia?! Does that mean he intends to take that Baron’s daughter as his main wife?!”
“Well, I didn’t ask Allie about that, but I figure that’s probably what’s going on, yeah. Ah, right, we need to have a family meeting later! I’ve told you, so you have to attend, Father!”
As he watched his daughter say that with a big grin on her face, Orfans stood in stunned silence as he unconsciously raised his fist, only stopping himself at the last moment from bringing it down for the third time on top of Anne-Sophia’s head.
“R-Ridiculous… a Baron’s daughter?! Who hasn’t received even the slightest education on becoming Queen?! Such a person becoming the main wife of the future King… Does Algard understand just what he’s doing?!”
“Allie really is giving us a headache, just rushing off and doing whatever he likes, huh…?”
“As if you have room to talk?!”
Orfans yelled and rubbed at his temples in response to Anne-Sophia’s wistful remark.
This isn’t just one bad incident. This had the potential to become the first in an uncountable number of dominos to fall.
First, there was the royal family’s relationship with Duke Magneta, Euphilia’s father. In the first place, it was the royal family who had come to him to request that Euphilia be engaged to Algard.
This was to both invite the brilliant and talented Euphilia into the royal family, as well as to secure the support of Duke Magneta for Algard, who was supported by the royal family as the heir to the throne.
Duke Magneta, who truly loved his exceptionally gifted daughter, was reluctant at first to give away her hand, but he was eventually convinced due to his loyalty to the royal family as well as his personal friendship with Orfans.
In other words, breaking the engagement is the same as spitting on Duke Magneta’s sincere honour and loyalty.
Orfans already had some idea that the relationship between Euphilia and Algard was rocky, Perhaps, Euphilia would have liked to break off the engagement herself? Such things were discussed in private.
However, it was eventually agreed that faith should be placed in Euphilia to carry out her duties to support the country, and likewise the royal family would never abandon the engagement… Or, at least, that’s what both sets of parents had agreed to.
(If Grantz finds out about this… T-This’ll be a disaster…!)
Duke Grantz Magneta, a talented military man and swordmaster, loyal to the throne and a close personal friend of Orfans. Orfans knew that, although he was often strict with his daughter’s education, he also loved her dearly.
His strictness only came from him thinking for her sake. In order to prepare Euphilia for the harsh realities of being Queen, and to best fulfill his duties to the royal family, he educated her as a Duke, not as her father.
Duke Magneta was also a ferocious man, when he needed to be. Before he became King, Orfans was often saved by that ferocity, but now that he considered the possibility of being on the receiving end of that violence, he felt a chill run down his spine.
This wasn’t something so simple as merely breaking an engagement, this was something that could lead to problems on the national level.
As the leader of the country, just what could he make of such an outrageous turn of events? If he found himself staring down the tip of Duke Magneta’s sword in the near future, he wouldn’t have any excuses.
Orfans would never have forgiven Algard if he had told him about his intention to break off the engagement in advance.
However, he may have been able to spin a broken engagement as something that was unavoidable. But, above all, he would have had to deny to the ends of the earth that it was because Algard had found a lover.
What’s more, that lover being who she is… She was merely the daughter of a Baron. It goes without saying that she isn’t suitable as a fiancee to the Crown Prince. Perhaps this would be different if she had accomplished some great feat or possessed some amazing talent, but as far as he knew this wasn’t the case.
Meanwhile, Euphilia had been educated ever since she was young to be the very ideal of virtue and determination.
Compared to her, he couldn’t imagine Ryeini Cyan was ready to step into those shoes at all. In the first place, if she possessed the proper faculties to do so, then this sort of farce wouldn’t have unfolded in the first place.
To sum it all up, at this time, under these circumstances, there wasn’t any possible way the royal family could accept Ryeini Cyan as a legitimate fiancee to Algard. It was simply impossible.
What’s more, Euphilia had been willing to continue supporting Algard, it was he alone who wished to cancel the engagement.
Worst of all; this was an act that had been witnessed by an entire banquet hall’s worth of people. It could hardly be swept under the rug now.
He couldn’t see a way to solve this situation. Or, rather, before thinking of solving it, Orfans wondered whether he’d still have his head come sunrise. As he thought that, he could see in his mind the face of his friend Duke Magneta, a man who loved his daughter more than anything else in the world.
As his stomach pains reached new heights, Orfans couldn’t stand anymore and had to lean back on his desk to keep himself upright. The stress-induced pain in his stomach felt like it was spreading through his whole body.
“Y-Your Highness! Please be strong!”
Anne-Sophia and Euphilia jumped forward straight away to support Orfans. Then, supported by both of their shoulders, the two girls managed to sit the King back down in his chair.
“…Why, Algard? How could you do such a thing…?”
Orfans hadn’t believed that Algard was so utterly incompetent. If he was properly lead and supported, surely someday he would be… Yes, although he may not have been a King to leave a mark on the annals of history, he surely would have been competent enough with the proper support.
It was for that reason… Yes, it was for that reason he and Anne-Sophia had agreed that she could abandon her right to the throne.
“…This really is all because of my own lack of strength, I can’t apologize enough…”
Seeing Orfans’ downcast face, Euphilia felt to her knees, apologizing profusely for her inability to prevent this. Her shoulders trembled terribly, and it was clear that she was on the verge of tears.
Orfans bit his lip in regret as he watched Euphilia, who had always acted with such grace and determination before. If he didn’t open his mouth to speak, he felt like he’d bite down on his lip so hard he’d draw blood.
“Weeeell, Allie always had a bit of an inferiority complex, huh…? Guess it can’t really be helped, Miss Euphilia?”
“You of all people shouldn’t be the one saying that!”
It was certainly true, Orfans was well aware that Algard had somewhat of an inferiority complex.
But, that was the fault of none other than this reckless daughter of his, Anne-Sophia!
Although she was a problem child, it was indisputable that Anne-Sophia was a pioneering inventor, always showing off some new concept or diagram that had never even been dreamed of before.
What could Algard hope but think, when compared to an older sister such as her? At any rate, it wasn’t anything positive. She must have been at least somewhat aware of it, since Anne-Sophia had kept her distance from Algard as of late, however…
“Hey, I gave up my right to inherit the throne, didn’t I?”
“The problem is everything else that you do!”
“Oh, then I’ll just get kicked out of the royal family completely, that’s a great idea!”
“Stop saying that so proudlyyyyyy!!”
As Anne-Sophia stuck out her chest pridefully at her excellent new idea, Orfans grabbed her and shook her back and forth. As he shook his daughter this way and that, Orfans thought to himself once again…
Ah, if only Anne-Sophia was a normal human being. And a man, to boot. Then, he wouldn’t have to worry so much.
Although Anne-Sophia was a member of the royal family, he’d done everything in his power to keep her from state affairs, as if cloaking it in mosquito nets to stop this solitary bloodsucker.
But, that girl’s ‘magicology’ is the main reason why she couldn’t be excluded completely from royal affairs.
The magical potency of the Palletian Kingdom was increasing exponentially due to Anne-Sophia’s ‘magicology’. It had already become something that the Kingdom of Palletia couldn’t easily do without anymore.
He knew that a major part of the reason for Algard’s inferiority complex was due to the fact that, although Anne-Sophia barely seemed like a proper royal at all, she had still proven herself to be a major force in this country through talent alone.
And, so, in order to prevent Algard from feeling like his position was under threat, she acted up and pretended to be a ‘problem child’ to put him at ease. Or, rather, that’s what Orfans wished was the truth.
“Father, Father! Please have mercy on me, I’m going to hurl! Mercy!”
“I have no mercy for the likes of you…!”
“But, at least hear me out! If things keep going like this, then who knows what Duke Grantz is going to do to you for revenge, Father!”
“Please stop reminding me of the reality I’d like to avoid…!!”
“However, I, Anne-Sophia, have a plan to save Father from his predicament!”
Orfans, who had almost been overtaken by dark thoughts as he considered whether or not shaking his daughter until she vomited was a just punishment, stopped and looked at Anne-Sophia.
Releasing her, Anne-Sophia quickly darted away from him and hid behind Euphilia, who had been watching the heartwarming (?) father-daughter bonding moment in silence. Watching his daughter use Euphilia like some kind of shield, Orfans glared at her. Did he really raise such a cowardly girl?
“In the first place, one of the main reasons for the engagement was to strengthen the ties between our family and Duke Magneta’s family, and to show the rest of the country that we’re united, right?”
“I won’t deny it. Of course, I’d hoped that Euphilia could support Algard in future, but that was only part of it.”
“Theeeen, if that’s the case, there’s still a way to break off that engagement, whilst still keeping a good relationship between the two families!”
(…I have an awful feeling about thiiiis!)
Orfans’ mouth began to twitch again as Anne-Sophia spoke with a big grin.
Being her Father, Orfans had gained something of a sixth sense when it came to this sort of thing. He was absolutely convinced that she was thinking about something that he’d need to do everything in his power to prevent.
“…For now, I’ll hear you out. Just what is your idea?”
Anne-Sophia’s smile only grew brighter as she answered him.
“…Just give Miss Euphilia to me instead!”
The silence was so piercing that it somehow hurt his ears.
Euphilia, as well as Orfans, looked at Anne-Sophia wordlessly.
“…Just what do you mean by that?”
“I want Miss Euphilia as a test subj- AHEM! I mean, rather, I want her as my research assistant!”
“Youuuu! What did you just say?! Don’t cover it up with a cough! Out with it!!”
“I know that Miss Euphilia is a really talented magician! She can use all sorts of magic and I’ve heard that she’s a once in a generation genius! I’ve always hoped that she could lend me a hand with my research…!”
It’s certainly true that Euphilia is an exceptionally gifted girl. She excelled not only in her regular studies, but as a magician as well. And her ability with the sword, which she had only taken up as a personal interest, was nothing to be sniffed at either.
From the perspective of Anne-Sophia, the pioneering maverick behind ‘magicology’, it only made sense that she would want her as an assistant. He could agree to the research assistant part, the problem lay with that ‘test subject’ line she had tried to cover up.
“But, just how is that meant to convince Duke Magneta not to kill me, you problem child…!”
“The story about Miss Euphilia’s engagement being broken has probably spread all over the capital! There’s no way to cover it up now! So, we’ll have to do something crazy instead! That’s why, you can use me to save the day! The country’s #1 problem child!”
“Stop saying things like that so proudly…! So, what, I’m meant to sell Euphilia out to you?!”
“Sorry for being blunt, but you need to think of Miss Euphilia’s future, since in everyone’s eyes she’s been scorned and tossed away by the royal family! At her age, do you think it would be easy to get her another engagement now with a decent noble?”
Those words sent a pang through Orfan’s heart.
A young lady tossed aside by the royal family, there’s no way her future marriage prospects wouldn’t be affected. What’s more, if Algard became king, her situation would only worsen as the woman jilted by the King himself.
However, when it came to marrying her off outside of the country, Euphilia’s genius became a handicap. To put it simply, it would be very difficult to find a decent match for Euphilia that would be loyal to the royal family of this country. Euphilia’s future prospects had narrowed tremendously in the space of an evening.
Euphilia was just reaching a marriageable age as well, if she were to have to wait much longer, questions would be raised about her age. That would just be adding insult to injury.
“So, if she learns about Magicology and helps me develop new technologies, I’m sure that Miss Euphilia can regain her honour! After that, she’ll definitely be a perfect bride! Also, if enough time passes, I’m sure that she and Allie can at least make up!”
“You certainly spin a good story. Alright, fine, let’s say that this is all well and good. But, why don’t you tell me what you really want?”
“There’s no way that I’m gonna miss out on the opportunity of making a research assistant this good mine, am I?!”
“T-The death claaaaw?! My face, my face is being crusheeed…!”
Orfans jumped up, grabbing Anne-Sophia’s face and lifting her into the air.
Anne-Sophia tried to pull his hand off and struggle free, but eventually she realized resistance was futile.
As he glared at Anne-Sophia, Orfans couldn’t help but think that what she said was only one part of her plan.
Right now, Magicology was something pursued almost entirely by Anne-Sophia alone. Although she was a problem child, she was at least considerate enough to try and take measures not to put other people in danger.
She only ever disclosed some of her research results to a trusted few, and she jealously guarded her notes and technology until she felt it was ready to be released to the public at large. That’s why Anne-Sophia kept the people at her side to the barest minimum and accepted being out of the public eye, despite being a member of the royal family.
So, Orfans was truly surprised that she requested to take Euphilia as a research assistant.
“You’re still hiding something, aren’t you, Anise?”
“Your hand… Let me go… My skull is gonna…!”
“Well, it’s not as if you’re going to learn even if I do this…”
With a sigh, Orfans released his iron claw grip on Anne-Sophia. Rubbing her face, Anne-Sophia got back to her feet and spoke.
“Well, hmm… Even if you say I’m hiding it, it’s not really something I need to hide.”
“Oh? Try me.”
“I just want to be by her side. Since I think Miss Euphilia is really great, after all!”
“…I’m going to assume that you mean that in a sense that she’s more than just a potential test subject for your harebrained experiments?”
“What I mean is, I like her as a woman.”
Orfan recalled the memories he’d done his best to push out of his mind over the years.
That’s right. At one point, he had genuinely considered potential matches for Anne-Sophia. But, it never happened. Of course, part of that was because of her eccentricities, but Anne-Sophia herself was also adamantly against it.
“I don’t wanna marry a man! It has to be a woman, at least! I wanna marry for love! So! An engagement! Is! Out of the question! But, if I have to choose, then I don’t mind marrying Illya!”
The utter pandemonium that resulted from that shouted declaration, Orfans still remembered it clearly, as much as he would love to forget.
Forget his lips, Orfans could feel both his cheeks twitching something fierce as he looked at Anne-Sophia.
In the corner of his eye, he could see Euphilia, who was slowly backing away towards the door.
Anne-Sophia locked eyes with Orfans, and spoke with that same big smile;
“I will… definitely make Miss Euphilia happy! So, Father, please allow me to have her!”
With those words, Orfans stomach ulcer and migraine intensified to untold extremes.