There was a small problem with the unveiling parade, but other than that, we made it back to the castle without any problems.
But afterwards, I heard a rumor that there was a place in the city where women dressed up in men’s clothes and showed a play.
…maybe I’d like to go and see it.
And so, one day after returning to my usual routine again, I was walking alone in the castle’s corridor when I heard a voice talking from the end of a bend in the corridor.
“…It must be nice—it seems that when the father is the director of the Ministry of Academic Research, the son gets preferential treatment too.”
The obviously disagreeable way he said it and the words ‘son of the director of the Ministry of Science and Research’ bothered me, so I quietly huddled against the wall and peeked around the corner in the direction the voice had come from.
There was a well-built, middle-aged man dressed in ministerial clothes talking to a man standing across from him with an apparently malicious look on his face.
And although the man had his back to us, I was able to confirm that it was Ghislan by looking at his neatly trimmed and bound dark green hair in one piece.
“…What do you mean by that?”
“You’re only the son of an earl, and yet you’ve been appointed as the ‘Celestial Maiden’s Tutor’. I’ve been wondering for a long time. My son, a marquis, is more appropriate for the position alone.”
“Well, it’s true that you were once called a child prodigy, but…it’s probably just a rumor spread by your father. I think it’s strange that this Count Dimitria has been the director for so many years in the first place.”
“…My father earned his position on merit.”
“Hmm, I’m saying that’s suspicious. He’s probably cheating in some way. As his son, you must have done something behind the scenes to get close with Prince Kaiser and his friends. I know what I’m doing, okay? So instead of keeping it quiet, I’m going ask you to…”
With that, the ministerial man grinned and was trying to bring up some kind of deal with Ghislan.
Huh! That stupid minister! How can you be so smug when you have no evidence and everything you say is based on your imagination!? And he’s completely disrespecting Ghislan! It’s so disgusting! I don’t know how you put up with Ghislan…
All I could see was Ghislan’s back, but I noticed an unmistakable dark presence drifting from his back.
However, the man in the minister’s office didn’t seem to notice Ghislan’s condition at all, or that he looked even worse as he continued to speak.
“Make arrangements for Prince Kaiser’s fiancée, Lady Cecilia, to meet my son. My son is very fond of Cecilia, but Prince Kaiser does not allow him to meet her.”
“…What are you going to do with Cecilia? Cecilia is Kaiser’s fiancée, remember?”
“Hmm, that doesn’t matter once you’ve created an existing fact! Then, once the facts are established, I will call Lady Cecilia unfaithful, break off the engagement, and instead comfort the heartbroken Prince Kaiser with my daughter, and make her his betrothed. Then my son will have Lady Cecilia, and my daughter will be the future queen! Great idea, right? Well, don’t worry, I’m gonna give you some juice too. How’s that? Isn’t that a good story?”
“Is that…is that all you’re trying to say?”
“I have nothing to be ashamed of, and my father has nothing to be ashamed of. Until this point, I had no business listening to what you had to say. But to blabber on about your plans like an idiot, are you really involved in the politics of this country? I’m honestly appalled. But I don’t care about that. However…I can’t allow you to involve Cecilia like this. I’ll tell Kaiser everything you just said.”
“I don’t see how that Kaiser can listen to what you just said and not do anything.”
“You!…No, but if it’s a young man like you, a young man who hasn’t even earned a title or position yet, and me, a marquis who’s a minister, the credibility of my story should be better than yours!”
“Well, then, if I, as Kaiser’s fiancée, could put in a word for him, Ghislan would certainly be the better choice.”
I said so and walked closer to them with a pseudo-smile on my face.
“Huh? Lady Cecilia!”
“…Cecilia, did you hear that?”
“I’m sorry for sounding like an eavesdropper. But…. I couldn’t help but listen in when he spoke so openly about his shenanigans in a place like this, you know?”
I looked away from Ghislan, who had a dumbfounded expression on his face as I said this, and glanced at the minister’s man and smiled meaningfully.
“Huh! No, it’s not! That story has been broached by this man for some time…”
“Is that right? It sounded to me like you were the one making the offer now, didn’t it? As I recall, your son and I were tasked with creating a myth…”
“I don’t think that’s…”
“…If you can promise me that you will never again say anything to disgrace Ghislan or Count Dimitria, I will let this matter slide. To be honest, I don’t want to make a mess of things. What do you think?”
“…Okay. I promise not to do it again. So I ask you not to tell Prince Kaiser about it!”
“As long as you keep your word, you have my word. But if you break your word…I will tell my father.”
“Ack! I’ll never say it!!!”
When I mentioned my father as a warning, the minister’s face instantly turned pale and he nodded frantically over and over again.
…Father, just how much are you feared in the castle?
I thought it would be more or less effective if I simply mentioned my father, who has the position of Prime Minister, but I learned for the first time that he seemed to be more afraid of my father when he was in work mode than I had imagined.
“So, I’ll just take my leave…”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention one thing.”
“I…What is it?”
“Tell your son I won’t see him, sir. He can find someone else.”
And so the minister man left the place in a hurry.
As I looked at his back with satisfaction, I heard a loud sigh from close by.
“…What is it?”
“Cecilia…don’t come out in such a scene.”
“But…I just couldn’t stand it!”
“What were you going to do if that minister got upset and attacked you?”
“Ummm…I wasn’t thinking about it!”
“But I couldn’t just sit back and listen to Ghislan being insulted like that, and besides…Ghislan would have protected me, wouldn’t he?”
“Hmm, thank you. Well, but if something like that really happened, I wouldn’t expect much from Ghislan’s prowess, so the two of us would have to run away as fast as we could.”
“Hmm, I’ve been studying all my life anyway. I’m not as powerful as the other guys…”
“But unlike the others, Ghislan has a superior intellect, and I think that’s great!”
“…praise won’t get you anywhere.”
Ghislan pushed up his glasses with his fingers and turned away, looking a little embarrassed.
Seeing Ghislan like that, I felt a bit crazy, so I held my hand over my mouth and chuckled.
“I’m sorry. But…you really are able to talk to others more than you used to, aren’t you? There’s still a bit of a sharpness to it, but…if you were the old Ghislan, you would have just ignored it and walked away without talking, right?”
“Well…it’s all thanks to Cecilia.”
“You asked to talk to more people! More importantly…do you have time for something?”
“What? I don’t have any particular urgent business to attend to…”
“Then why don’t you come back to my room? A friend of mine gave me some candy that Cecilia seemed to like, so…”
“It’s an immediate answer…It’s looks like I don’t seem to be seen as a man…”
“Did you say something, Ghislan?”
“No. Let’s get going.”
For some reason, I looked curiously at Ghislan, who mumbled to himself with a complicated look on his face, but I went with him to his room.
Ghislan urged me to enter his private quarters that had been prepared in the castle for the first time.
“Wow! There’s a lot of books in here!”
I looked around at the bookshelves that covered the walls of the room, marveling at the bookshelves.
“I brought half the books from home and borrowed the other half from the Ministry of Academic Research. Sit down over there, I’ll make some tea for you now.”
“Huh? Don’t you have a maid to take care of this, Ghislan?”
“I can do most of the work myself, and being there all the time would interfere with my studies. I only call on them when I have to.”
“I see. It’s just like Ghislan.”
“Wait a minute.”
“Oh, can I help you with that?”
“No, thanks. Cecilia is a guest, so just sit back and wait.”
Ghislan said that and immediately went to the next room.
I gave up the idea and had no choice but to sit on the couch I was instructed to sit on and waited for Ghislan to come back.
He placed the plate and cup on the table in front of me and carefully poured the tea into the cup and then sat down on the couch across from me as he prepared his own.
“Enjoy your drink.”
“Then let’s eat. It’s delicious!”
“That’s good to hear.”
“The sponge is light and easy to eat and the whipped cream is not too bad, which is my favorite flavor!”
“If you like it so much, I’ll ask the guy who gave me the cake where he got it next time.”
“Thank you! But…the tea Ghislan made for me is very good too! Do you always make it yourself?”
“Yeah, I don’t bother to ask for help, so I make it myself.”
“Please show me how to do it next time.”
“I’m not in any kind of position to be doing that anyway…”
Ghislan and I were sipping delicious cake and tea and enjoying an idle conversation.
However, Ghislan suddenly stared at me intently as he thought about something.
“…Cecilia, I have something I want to ask you.”
“Is there something you want to hear?”
“You…are you really going to marry Kaiser like this?”
“It doesn’t look like you’re thinking about marrying Kaiser, from what I can see…”
Ghislan’s words made me choke up and look confused.
Indeed… Ghislan is right… I hadn’t thought anything of it. In the first place, I was planning to gracefully step aside when Nina and Kaiser got together. But when I think about it, if Nina got together with another capture target and I didn’t get killed, I would inevitably end up marrying Kaiser directly. In that case… if I married Kaiser, who was going to be king in the future, then I would be the queen! I would the queen!? Yikes, I hadn’t thought that far ahead…
I was finally aware of this and was extremely upset, when before I knew it, Ghislan, who sat next to me, gently placed his hand on my lap.
When I looked at Ghislan’s face in surprise at his behavior, I saw that he was staring at me with an even more serious expression than before.
“Apparently, that face wasn’t really thinking. But…by the looks of it, you don’t want to marry Kaiser, do you?”
“…then you should stop marrying Kaiser!”
“But that’s not…”
“I’m going to pass the Ministry of Academic Research’s recruitment exam in six months and take a firm position there!”
For some reason, I was confused by Ghislan’s sudden decision to squeeze my hand, and I didn’t know why, but I felt uncomfortable. Ghislan closed the distance between us and gave me a heated look.
“And then I’ll be…”
“Excuse me, Mr. Ghislan, I’d like to ask you a few questions…”
Just as Ghislan was about to say something, Nina opened the door with a knock and walked in.
But for some reason, Nina froze near the door, staring at us.
I was wondering what Nina was doing, when I suddenly realized and let go of Ghislan’s hand in a hurry.
He immediately got up from his chair and hurriedly spoke to Nina.
“Nina! Don’t get me wrong! We were just talking!”
“Oh! Don’t look so sad! I’m not going to get in the way of Nina and Ghislan!”
“…what? Cecilia, what the hell are you saying?”
“I don’t want to be a bother to you when you’re about to be alone, so I’ll take my leave now! Ghislan, thank you for the cake and tea!”
“Hey! Cecilia, you must have made a mistake! No, wait a minute!”
“Lady Cecilia! I’m not bothered by you at all!”
I hurriedly left Ghislan’s private room with their panicked voices at my back.
T/N: Lmao, Cecilia is so dense that she puts black holes to shame.
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