Please Leave the Young Lady to Me!
Ever since it was agreed that Miss Euphilia was going to be my research assistant, things have been awfully busy. The main reason for that is because it’s also been agreed that Miss Euphilia will be staying in her own private room in my royal villa.
Up until now, Miss Euphilia had been living with her parents at the ducal manor, which is close enough to the royal palace grounds to commute every day, but most Magicology research is treated as a state secret. More importantly, judging by how my research binges usually go, there’ll probably be quite a few all-nighters involved.
What’s why I made the decision to have a room prepared for Miss Euphilia in my villa, but… The problem is, there’s only a certain number of people permitted to come and go from the villa.
For the most part, it’s solely run by myself and Illya. Well, to be honest, mostly just Illya. It’s only when she needs to go out on some business or take a break is a specially selected maid (mostly picked for their ability to keep mum about what they see and hear) dispatched from the palace proper.
To put it bluntly, there’s not much manpower here, so just bringing in the furniture was going to be a pain. That meant I, a Princess, had to go and drag furniture around. Well, I guess so long as it’s just furniture, that’s fine.
Or, at least, that’s what I thought at first. It ended up just being me dragging heavy pieces of furniture whilst listening to the instructions of maids, I felt like a mover hauling things from a truck into a new house from my previous life.
“Simply bringing the furniture inside is plenty. Please do not think of arranging it, Your Highness. The Princess has an avant-garde sense of interior design, after all.”
“So, what you’re saying is that my tastes are weird? Or just plain bad?”
“Well, yes, now that you put it that way.”
“You didn’t even deny it?!”
“Please leave the arrangements to us. You’re going to be visiting the home of His Excellency today after all, are you not?”
I nodded to the leader of the maids who had been sent from the palace. After finishing up here, the next thing on my to-do list was to pick up Miss Euphilia. Illya was the only one who was going to be coming with me, since apparently, it would be a problem if I went to Duke Magneta’s home on my own, father insisted Illya go with me.
Personally, I really wanted Illya to stay here when I’m out. There’s just too many places in the villa that I’m worried about the maids stumbling into, after all. Not because I was worried about secrets getting out, the maids sent from the royal palace were all pretty tight-lipped, but there are a few rooms in this place that are pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
They were briefed to be careful, but I can’t help but worry a bit, can I? Well, since I was basically being politely pushed out once I brought up the last piece of furniture, I left what was to be Miss Euphilia’s new room with that on my mind.
“It’s time to get you prepared. It wouldn’t do to be rude to Duke Magneta, after all.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right, since I am going to be carrying off his precious daughter. Especially after what Allie did, I guess it’d be best to do things quietly this time, right?”
“My word… Our Princess, more akin to a wild beast than a royal lady, a demon from hell than an angel of the people, being so obedient… Ah, perhaps the world will be ending tomorrow…?!”
“Isn’t that going too far?!”
“It’s simply the way of things…”
She was like some melodramatic actress in an opera. Despite putting on a façade of utmost melancholy in one second, Illya suddenly straightened up with a professional glint in her eye the next.
“Now then, first off, we must get you bathed. After that comes makeup, then onto the dress selection…”
“You really do come to life when you get the chance to dress me up, don’t you…”
“Flowers shine all the brighter when plucked and given a vase, and the same goes for you, Your Highness.”
And, so, Illya took me off to be scrubbed up and polished. Since I’ve known her for this long, I’ve learnt that at a certain point it’s absolutely futile to resist her, so I went along with it.
After the bath, I was plied with so much makeup that I barely recognized myself when I looked in the mirror. I really do have to admire the passion of Illya and the other maids, huh? Maybe it’s similar to my own passion for magic? Thinking about it like that makes it a little easier to put up with the chore of getting dressed up by them.
Suddenly, I caught a glimpse of Illya’s reflection in the mirror. Although she’s in her late twenties, her skin looks like she’s still in her teens. It really was worth spending the time researching magic tools that would help keep Illya beautiful, wasn’t it?
“…Illya sure is beautiful, huh?”
“Please don’t joke.”
“But I’m serious? I’ve always thought that, ever since I was little.”
“Ah, how nostalgic. I remember when you were little too, Your Highness, before you suddenly started running amok in the royal palace, developing magical tools and injuring yourself in a hundred different ways.”
Illya’s scathing words almost sounded affectionate as she combed my hair. Although she’s talking about my past failures, I think of them as precious memories that Illya and I share.
Back then, when I learned that I didn’t have any aptitude for casting magic, I quickly turned towards researching and making magical tools. And, Illya was by my side from the beginning. I wonder, if it wasn’t for her, just where would I have ended up? I can’t help but think about it.
“Well, it’s true that there have been a lot of failures, but they’re just the stepping stones to success!”
“In that case, perhaps my failures to escape from you are the same?”
“…Then, what success did they bring you, Illya?”
“Why, I’d consider this moment right now a success.”
You’re exaggerating… I muttered under my breath. How can she say something that embarrassing so proudly? It’s mortifying.
“I could hardly leave you be, after all…”
“Did you say something?”
Illya just smiled in response. Even though we’ve been together for ten years, it really doesn’t seem as if Illya’s face has changed at all from my first memories of her. Even if she’s become more beautiful with age, Illya will always be Illya.
I can’t really put into words just how much I appreciate her always being by my side. If I tell her that she’s like my sister, I’m sure she’ll get really mad at me. Besides, I’m not really sure sister is the right word. More, like… my precious partner?
“Besides, despite what I say, I do think that being here can be quite enjoyable. I suppose that getting married really isn’t the only sort of happiness available to a woman, after all.”
“Um, I’m sorry about that…”
“Don’t be. Since my family’s peerage is so low, I’d only be a pawn in a political marriage anyways. Besides, one might say that I ended up being married to a Princess instead, so I can’t really say I’ve done too poorly, thanks to you.”
Illya was the daughter of a Viscount. With parents who had an eye to elevating their status, they had been looking for Illya to marry into a powerful house. One of the main reasons why she had been sent to apprentice as a maid at the Royal Palace was to catch the eye of a suitor from a prominent family.
But, she caught my eye instead. Well, that is to say, when I heard that Illya’s family were going to decide an engagement for her that she didn’t want at all, I may have gone… a little overboard in making sure that she stayed with me.
Thanks to that, Illya was fortunately unable to escape from me, and that’s how we have the relationship that we do now – one where she helps me with my magical research. Well, I can’t say that everything turned out great, though.
Although Illya’s family were initially fairly happy that she had gotten so close to me, even though her engagement had been broken, once I relinquished my claim to the throne it seems that it had caused problems between them, and they had become estranged. Oh, now that I think about it, I wonder if they’ll start getting along if I’m reasserting my claim?
Illya had told me that she didn’t care, though, since her relationship with her family had always been cold. That’s why she doesn’t refer to herself using her family’s name anymore either. Well, I try not to ask about it too much, but to me, it sounds like she’s essentially been disowned.
But, it doesn’t matter, since to me Illya is Illya. It doesn’t matter whose family she’s from. That said, since she’s so beautiful, I’m sure that she’d be really popular… However, I don’t want to think about that, since if I lose Illya I’d be in real trouble. Besides, thinking about that kind of thing behind Illya’s back would be rude, right?
“You know, Illya, things are probably only going to get more exciting in the future?”
“If that’s what the Princess prefers. Well, putting that aside, it’s not as if I’m going to start going easier on you, either.”
Illya’s reply made me laugh. I’ve only made it this far thanks to her, And since I can’t thank her enough anyways, I’ll just leave what we both already know unsaid.
“Fufu, I’m perfectly disguised like an actual princess… Excellently done, Illya!”
“Just what is this actual princess saying?”
Her knuckles rapping against the crown of my head made a sharp crack echo through the room.
＊ ＊ ＊
After finishing disguising myself as a Princess, I rode in a carriage to Duke Magneta’s estate alongside Illya.
Thinking back on it now, I haven’t visited here since I was just a little girl. Back then, I was still close to Allie, and Miss Euphilia hadn’t become his fiancee.
The Duke’s family is technically a branch house of the royal family, but in terms of an actual blood relationship, the Magneta’s are very distant relations. I also remember hearing that Duke Grantz and my father were childhood friends, who worked together very closely back in the day.
So, when I was young, I had visited the Duke’s mansion, but that was so long ago that it may as well not have happened. It’s best to try and keep calm and think of this as my first ever visit.
“Let’s do this, Illya.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Guided by one of the maids from the Duke’s house, Illya and I walked through the mansion. It was plain to see just how amazing a place it was the moment we stepped through the gates, but I guess you wouldn’t expect anything less of the Magneta house, considering their deep history.
The room that we were guided to ended up being the main parlour, and waiting for us there were Miss Euphilia, Duke Grantz and the Duchess, Madame Nerschell.
Madame Nerschell didn’t seem to share too many features with Miss Euphilia, it seems that she takes more after her father. Since it’s been so long since I last saw her, I ended up just sort of gawking at her. No, no, no! I have to actually try to be polite and courteous this time!
“We’re deeply humbled by your offer of assistance in this matter, Princess Anne-Sophia.”
“No, being able to invite Miss Euphilia to join me was something that I personally desired. So, I ought to be the one thanking you. More importantly, I must also sincerely apologize for my younger brother’s dishonourable behaviour. Although the royal family has already extended an official apology to all of you, I would like to offer my own personal remorse for all of this as well.”
“Please raise your head, Your Highness.”
“That’s right, Princess Anne-Sophia. The most important thing here is that you’re the one who saved our adorable little Euphie. And since we’re deeply grateful for the opportunity you’ve also provided, it wouldn’t feel right accepting an apology like this.”
Since Duke Grantz and Madame Nerschell both told me to raise my head, I couldn’t keep it lowered any longer. Pulling myself upright, I quickly took a seat. Illya, meanwhile, took her place standing behind me.
Across from me, on the other side of the parlour table, Duke Grantz sat with his wife and daughter on either side of him.
“It certainly has been some time since we last saw each other, hasn’t it, Madame Nerschell? I’m glad to see that you’re in good health.”
“Yes, the same to you, Princess Anne-Sophia. I’ve certainly heard much about you, though? That said, it really has been such a long time since you last came to visit us…”
“After Algard’s engagement was decided, I thought it was best to keep my distance from the home of Duke Magneta.”
“Yes… I’ll tell you plainly, although my feelings on the matter should be obvious now, from the very beginning I had my doubts about Prince Algard. Rather, now that everything has been brought to the light, perhaps this opportunity to cut things off really may end up being more constructive in the long-term?”
That smiling face has a crazy amount of pressure, Madame Nerschell! Duke Grantz’s expressionless face might be super scary, but that kind of cold smile is like the last thing you see before you die!
It’s not even the least bit surprising that Miss Euphilia, the daughter of these two, has a bit of a reputation for having a stern gaze. Blood always tells after all, huh?
“I’ve already heard the details from my husband and Euphie. So long as Euphie is happy with the arrangement, I’m happy to let her go.”
“I’m deeply humbled by your trust. I cannot begin to describe how grateful I am for the fact that you have given me the opportunity to regain the honour of our royal family. I will do everything in my power to take care of Miss Euphilia, the precious daughter of Duke and Duchess Magneta. I swear it, in the name of the royal family.”
“You really are in top form today, aren’t you, Princess Anne-Sophia? I have to say though, when you swore in the name of the royal family just now, it took everything I had to stifle a laugh.”
Duke Grantz…?! Well, it’s not like I disagree that this is all a bit silly, but you don’t have to say it out loud! I’m really doing my best to wear the mask of a Princess here! Ahh, maaan, I can even hear Illya sighing behind me. Well, whatever happens now isn’t my fault anymore.
“Jeez, Lord Grantz, even I know that there’s a time and place for things!”
“Ah, my apologies. I just never knew that Her Highness could inspire such awe. However, I believe we all understand how sincere you were. I’d also like to ask you to take good care of Euphie.”
“Yes! I’ll do it with lots of love!”
Fuhehehe! Now that I’ve got Miss Euphilia, I’ll be able to make progress with that tool… Oh, and that piece of research too…!
Actually having magic but being unable to use it normally can be a real pain at times. That’s the reason I started developing magical tools, though. But, now I’ve got Miss Euphilia, who has excellent aptitudes for all forms of magic, I couldn’t wish for a better assistant! Ahh, here I come, my future rosy research life!
“However, Princess Anne-Sophia… You will be sharing your life with my daughter from now on. Don’t you think that ‘Miss Euphilia’ is awfully distant-sounding?”
I stared blankly at Madam Nerschell as she proposed that. But, she’s right, calling her Miss Euphilia does seem a little distant… I want to get closer with her as well!
“Then, can I call you Euphie? Ah, but if that’s a bit too much, then I’ll call you Euphilia!”
“…Please address me as you like.”
“Thanks! Then, you can call me Anise, okay? Let’s get along super well from now on, Euphie!”
“…Yes, Princess Anise. I look forward to your guidance and teachings in the ways of Magic.”
Alright, you got i-…! Wait, umm… Speaking of teaching, what about Euphie and the Academy? I don’t think she can stay there, considering everything that’s happened, right?
“By the way, what’s going to happen between Euphie and the Academy?”
“I’m glad you asked. As I’m sure you’re very well aware, our Euphie is an excellent academic. So, officially, the reason that she won’t be attending the Academy any more although she hasn’t graduated is that she’s transferring to study under Princess Anne-Sophia.”
“We felt that it would be important for people to know that Prince Algard’s actions weren’t the only reason behind this, but also Princess Anne-Sophia’s strong request for Euphilia to personally come and study under her.”
Ahh, that makes sense. If they go back and say that I had always been trying to scout Euphie and that’s why she left school, then maybe it might make people focus less on the broken engagement.
“If that’s the case, then please use my name however you like. Besides, it’s true that I’ve always been interested in Euphie, after all.”
“Oh, my, then I suppose we shall have to rely on that kindness of yours? Wouldn’t you say so, Grantz?”
“Yes. I’ll make sure that Euphie is exempted from attending the Academy until the date of her graduation next year, and that she’ll also be exempted from having to attend the graduation ceremony as well.”
“That’s right, it’d be awful if the reason Euphie had to leave school was because of her engagement being called off, huh? If I can be used to stop that, then please do!”
“Thank you for everything, Princess Anise.”
“Don’t worry about it!”
Maaan, I sure am glad that things ended up getting settled, one way or another. As I breathed a sigh of relief, I suddenly remembered…
There was another child in the Magneta house, wasn’t there? If I remember right, he was Euphie’s little brother? Uh, what was his name again…?
“Come to think of it, don’t you have a little brother too, Euphie?”
“Ah, you mean Caind? Well, he’s…”
“That boy, he’s awfully unhappy about the whole business with Euphie leaving the academy to work with you, Your Highness. I didn’t even tell him that you were coming today, but he must’ve learned about it somehow and snuck out. I’m sure he’s at the Academy right now.”
Ahh, so that’s how it is, huh…? Euphie’s little brother seems to have a bone to pick with me.
“He must be upset that it seems like his sister is just being passed around and used by the royal family, huh…?”
“No, that’s um… I’m really sorry about all this…”
“It’s not like it’s your fault at all. Besides, it’s not like the rumours about me have probably helped, either.”
“At any rate, we had hoped that if the two of you met, perhaps he could understand you. What’s more, I’m sure the atmosphere right now at the Academy must be quite stifling.”
“I’ve heard that the mood at the Academy is just awful, it seems the entire student body is on edge.”
Madam Nerschell sighed with a glum expression. I’m really sorry about that, but for once this really doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’ve never been to the Academy, after all! Apparently, father vetoed the entire idea of me attending because I’d absolutely cause problems if I went. Well, I don’t really disagree.
After that, my meeting with the Duke and Duchess of Magneta ended without a hitch, and Euphie and I returned to the palace.
Although the issue between Caind and me had the potential to be a bit prickly, I definitely want to stay friendly with Euphie’s family, so I’ll make sure to visit in the future.
＊ ＊ ＊
“Fufu, it feels like I haven’t been able to get anything done ever since this whole thing with Euphie started!”
After I brought Euphie to the villa and asked Illya to show her around, I made a beeline straight for my workshop. Thinking about it, I really haven’t done a single bit of research for the past two days because of this whole debacle. Just what happens to a master’s skills if they step away from their craft for three days, I wonder? More importantly, just how far behind on my research would I be?!
“But, now that Euphie’s here, I have to rethink my experiments, huh… Since there’s a lot more I can do now, after all.”
Hmm… I mused to myself, as I took out my notepad. I always keep it on me to sketch out designs that I remember from my previous life, or to jot down any ideas that just happen to come to mind.
I’m essentially a foreign element in this world, after all. I’m conscious that these memories of another life have changed my way of thinking and how I see the world, but I’m also conscious that they could disappear just as suddenly as they came to me.
So, that’s why I’ve prepared a meticulous amount of notes, just in case that does happen. I wouldn’t exactly call them proof that I was alive or anything, but I figured it would definitely be a good idea to make sure that something was left behind.
“Hmmm, well, for now, it’s probably best to refrain from any shock and awe style experiments, right? Going outside a lot probably isn’t a good idea, either. If that’s the case, experiments that use a lot of materials are also out… Actually, that’ a good idea, let’s talk to Euphie so that we both understand each other a little better…”
Whenever I’m left to my own devices, I tend to talk to myself a bit. But, as I paced, absorbed in my thoughts, I heard a knock at the door. From the other side of the door, I could hear Illya’s voice… Then, is Euphie with her?
“Please excuse us.”
Once I responded, Illya entered the workshop straight away. And, behind her, there was Euphie. She must have changed clothes, since she was wearing a light dress that looked easy to move around in. Euphie gazed with curiosity around my workshop as she stepped inside.
Meanwhile, I opened up my arms to welcome Euphie. Finally, Euphie has become my accompli-… AHEM …What I mean to say is, my coworker. I couldn’t help but smile at that fact.
“Welcome, Euphie! This is my castle, but please treat it as your own as well.”
“This is your workshop, Princess Anise?”
“That’s right. Be careful what you touch, okay? There are lots of prototypes in here.”
At my warning, Euphie froze up a little bit with a start. Well, there shouldn’t be any real problems though, since I have a separate storage area for anything that might actually be seriously dangerous. Sometimes I spend all night get sort of absorbed in something I probably shouldn’t and end up making something I’d probably regret anyone else ever seeing, so…
I added a seat to the desk that Illya and I usually sit across from each other from for Euphie to have. Whilst Eupie sat down and Illya prepared tea for us, it really was just another day in the workshop, apart from the newcomer.
“Once again, glad to be working with you from now on, Euphie.”
“Yes. I hope that, just like Princess Anise, I can invent things to help the people.”
“Ahh, you don’t have to be so serious and stuffy about it, though? Let’s just do what we can do, let’s go with that sort of feeling. Of course, getting results is what we’re after, but there’s always going to be more failures than successes.
“Is that so?”
“If you see the moon as a success, then failures are like all the stars around it. But, I think that’s just how things have to be, you know? If we never went reaching for the moon at all, then the night sky would never be lit up by those stars.”
“I see now. So, that’s the sort of philosophy you have?”
“Yeah, that’s it. Otherwise, if you get too caught up on results, all the failures will just make you end up feeling impatient and frustrated. You shouldn’t work like you have an obligation to anyone for results, so you don’t have to carry that on your back, okay?”
This palace wasn’t built in a day, and the secrets of Magicology weren’t going to unravel themselves that easily either. Magicology is a life-long passion, my lover that I’ll keep until I’m old and grey! I can try and dress it up as something cool, but the truth is I’ll just never run out of things I want to make! And if people end up benefitting because of what I make, then that’s a good thing too, right?
Euphie nodded, seemingly impressed. Ahh, what a good and honest girl. Well, maybe she’s just happy about being released from her old obligations… Euphie must have killed her emotions as she pursued becoming the next Queen, but these past few days she’s seemed more like a girl her age in a lot of ways.
Considering the time that she’s had of it up until now, I want at least the next year of hers to be full of fun every day. Awesome inventions! Fun magic tools! An experience she wouldn’t forget even if she lived a thousand years!
“I think we should have a party today, don’t you?”
“For you, Euphie. Well, we won’t call it a party to commemorate your engagement being broken, but let’s call it a welcome party instead? Either way, I’m thankful for Euphie being here! Riiight, Illyaaaa?!”
“I also think that it’s a wonderful idea.”
“…Is it truly all right to do something like that?”
Euphie’s eyebrows were drawn tight, but she looked more embarrassed than mad. Putting one hand on the desk, I reached across to her and pointed at her nose.
“We’re doing it because I want to! Or, do you hate the idea, Euphie?”
“…No, I don’t hate it. It’s just, um, this is a little sudden.”
“Well, I hope you can get used to that part of being here. But, there’s no need to rush things.”
This time, I held out my palm to Euphie. Euphie, still seemingly a little confused, unconsciously reached out and placed her hand in mine.
Then, I firmly gripped hers, and gave it a light shake. I’m sure that I’ll be leading her by the hand to do all sorts of fun things from now on. That’s what I was thinking to myself, anyways, as I grinned back at her.