Well I didn’t manage to keep up my daily updates, but the great manga team here hopefully filled in the gap with their new release of a similarly “duke’s daughter” based story, heh. Anyways, I’m back with chapter five. I should’ve probably said this sooner, but big thanks to doom_chicken (the editor on tamakeribanchou) who always runs a quick edit scan of my chapters after I post them, as well as everyone else who helps point out the weird stuff in my work. Enjoy!
After breakfast, when Lilia went towards her quarters, Alisa was standing before her room. Before Lilia knew it Alisa was already in a respectful bow. Disregarding it she went past Alisa and entered.
“Mistress, what shall we do about school?”
With a start, Lilia stopped her movement.
In this country there existed the Upper Academy and the Lower Academy, with the upper level school being for nobles and famous merchants to attend. On top of, obviously, learning to read and write, the lessons there consisted of such things as history and math, with even simple magics being included in the curriculum. It was a place for nurturing the talents of society’s elites. On the other hand, the lower level school simply taught the bare minimum of reading and writing skills, and anyone could enroll here simply by paying a small tuition fee.
The one Lilia attended was of course the Upper Academy. Enrolling in the same school as the prince, she had competed consistently in the top rankings with her superior grades. However, currently the prospect of returning to classes was not appealing in the least.
At Lilia’s words, Alisa suppressed a sigh.
“That won’t do, Mistress. You’ve already been away for a whole week. The master has yet to say anything but, at this rate…”
“At this rate, what?”
Narrowing her eyes, she turned to face Alisa. Looking about to cry, Alisa lowered her eyes to the ground. Lilia gave a small sigh and continued further into her room. Sitting down in an expensive looking chair, she tapped lightly on the table before her with a fingertip.
“Yes… I understand.”
Recognising her master’s intention from that action alone, Alisa gave a small bow and left from the room. Lilia let out a breath of relief, and sank deep into the chair.
—Lilia. You can’t just not return to school you know.
—I know, I know….
She knew that she couldn’t keep going like this. But, if she went back to the school, there would be no avoiding all the faces she didn’t want to see, and the prince would definitely be looking towards her with scorn. If nothing else, that would not be able to endure.
—Sakura. With your instructions, would I be able to win back the prince?
—Sorry. I can’t say for sure, but it’d probably be impossible.
Though the answer was to be expected, actually hearing it Lilia couldn’t help but feel down. Even though up until now the prince would show her his smiling face when they met, from now on that would certainly be impossible. Just thinking about such a thing, tears naturally spilled from Lilia’s eyes.
—Lilia. It’s not like I don’t get your feelings but.
—It’s your just desserts. The consequences to your actions. It’s nothing more, nothing less than that yeah?
Lilia’s eyes shot open, a flickering anger burned in her pupils. She opened her mouth, about to yell out.
—It was the way you handled it that was wrong.
The words made Lilia come to a halt.
—It was a fact that you were engaged. Even if he’s a prince, he couldn’t erase that fact, or easily cancel your engagement. Even if it was infuriating, you should have just watched over him, and treated it as a temporary infatuation on his part.
—Isn’t it obvious… That I’d never be able to do such a thing…
—That’s right isn’t it. Besides, such things are already done and in the past.
At Sakura’s reasoning, Lilia reflexively knit her eyebrows. Certainly, nothing can be done now about the things that happened. But she didn’t have to put it like that.
—Right now, you can only do you best in your current reality.
She already knew that. Lilia also accepted the fact that she couldn’t continue her break from school. It’s just that, no matter what she didn’t want to meet that girl and the prince.
—That’s why, Lilia. You just have to make that prince regret his decision in not choosing you right?
—Something like that… How in the world, am I supposed to do that…?
Getting back at him didn’t seem like a bad idea. Against an untouchable existence like the prince, making him regret his own actions was the next best thing. The problem was that Lilia couldn’t think of any way to actually accomplish this.
Sakura however smiled, as if saying it was quite simple.
—You can do it as long as have the know-how. Become familiar with everyone, a person recognised by all, respected by all. Show kindness towards various people, while staying unrelenting at times to prove your reliability. I won’t tell you to garner the admiration of ten thousand fans, but you must be able to win the support of the majority of people.
—Sounds like an empty dream to me…
—That may be so. But, there’s nothing to lose from aiming for this goal, right?
Everything Sakura had said only amounted to an ideal, a dream. No matter how much one strives in their pursuit of knowledge, they still couldn’t hope to succeed over someone who had studied to become an expert. But even so, it was probably better to struggle than simply rotting away in defeat. Alone, such a thing was probably impossible to accomplish for Lilia, but for better or for worse right now she had this meddlesome being beside her.
—Since you’re saying all this, I take it that you will be lending me your strength, yes?
To Lilia’s question, Sakura gave her cheerful response.
—Why but of course. ‘Cause I’m an angel after all! I’ll be your guiding sage!
—Angel? Isn’t this just the delusion of an evil spirit?
An indignant complaint came aimed at her, but Lilia ignored it. At being disregarded, Sakura suddenly fell silent, then spoke in a tiny voice.
—Fine then fine then. I’m just an evil spirit. Hmmph…
At the voice growing so timid, Lilia couldn’t help but let out a laugh. If she were to apologise, Sakura would probably immediately cheer up, laughing. Though she thought about what a simple person that girl was, Lilia didn’t put that into words. After all, chatting with Sakura did cheer her up a little.
That was why,
—Though it really isn’t too far off the mark huh.
Lilia pretended to not hear this muttering that came from Sakura.
“Alisa. Could I trouble you to have something easy to eat delivered to my room for lunch? Also, could you bring me something to write with right now. Ahh, school? I’ll go starting next week.”
Alisa was somewhat perplexed at Lilia’s instructions, but she immediately moved to carry them out. Passing on Lilia’s request to the cook, just to be safe she also went to report to Kelvin, the Master of the estate. Thus borrowing from him some paper and a pen, she returned to Lilia’s room.
“Did you report to Father?”
“Should I not have?”
“No such thing. In fact it was something I should have included in my instructions.”
Lilia was thankful that Alisa had accomplished the things she deemed necessary even without being ordered to.
Though eventually she might act outside of of Lilia’s intentions, for now there was nothing to be worried about. Receiving the pen and paper from Alisa, Lilia saw her off before sitting down in a chair.
Spreading the paper on the table, it was a slightly large piece of white parchment.
—That some nice paper. It’s amazing how you can easily obtain such a thing here.
“Indeed. This is the materialisation of Mother’s efforts. The magic to make paper was developed by Mother after all.”
As long as you had the materials, with just the chant and the magic formation you could mass produce this paper. This was the magic that Lilia’s mother, Ascha had pioneered, which completely had overturned paper’s status as a super valuable commodity just years prior. Thanks to her mother, even commoners could easily obtain and make use of paper these days.
Although it wasn’t a good thing for everyone; there was the problem of rendering the jobs of most people who were in the paper making industry obsolete, at this point things have generally calmed down regarding that.
“And so? What should I be doing?”
—Right. I will teach you the way, Lilia. I have no idea about things like etiquette or magic, but I am confident that my wealth of knowledge won’t lose to anyone else in this world.
It was certainly big talk. She could not completely believe in such grand words but, even so Sakura seemed more capable than Lilia herself.
“Well then, I’ll look forward to it.”
At receiving a suitable response, Sakura enthusiastically declared to ‘leave it to me’.
Though, they’ll soon find out that Sakura’s words might not necessarily prove to be as flawless as they seem.
For one week, Lilia again remained shut in her room. Just, this time it couldn’t truly be called that, as she never failed to show up in the dining room for meals. Every time she appeared she would receive worry from her parents, and scornful eyes from her elder brother, but ignoring it all Lilia remained completely focused on tackling her studies with Sakura.
Eating. Sleeping. Learning. Every day would roughly consist of a constant cycle of these things. The only exception was in her morning routine.
“It still hasn’t sprouted?”
“It’s just been planted after all.”
At the back of the estate, there was the flowerbed that Lilia and Alisa were taking care of together. Simply watering the soil, Lilia always gazed at the flowerbed without ever getting tired of it. Perhaps thinking such a thing was quite unusual, Alisa would be smiling beside her.
“Miss Lilia. You know, even if you stare at it so much it’s not going to grow any faster.”
Without realising when it began, Alisa had started to call Lilia using her name. Since there weren’t any bad intentions behind it, things simply continued like that.
“I know that of course. Don’t worry about it.”
Though Alisa watched on with a pleasant smile, the reality was a little different from her thinking.
Lilia was doing it simply to lengthen this break of hers, as much as possible. At the very least, she would continue until Sakura said something about it…
—Lilia. It’s about time to get back to studying. We still have a long ways ahead of us you know.
As she expected, Sakura urged her to continue with her studies. Lilia let loose a small sigh, and sluggishly lifted herself up.
“Miss Lilia. You will be studying today as well?”
“Yes. There are still many things I must be taught after all.”
“To be taught…?”
Alisa frowned in doubt at such words, while Lilia hastily cleared her throat. Shaking her head, as if to say she was just talking to herself, Lilia hurriedly escaped back towards her room.
“Bring me something to eat that’s easy to hold later on.”
At the request sent towards Alisa right before disappearing into the mansion, the maid conveyed that she understood, seeing her master off with a bow.