Here’s Chapter 39…a little later than anticipated. I said that my goal was to release a chapter of this series a week, but sometimes IRL stuff is going to get in the way of that goal…like getting a cold.
So, while chapter 39 was in progress, we weren’t able to communicate that without actually posting the newest chapter and announcing it at the top, which, by that point, doesn’t have much of a point.
To remedy that, there is now a project status updates page for Haunted Duke’s Daughter here. The main page for Haunted Duke’s Daughter has also been updated with this link.
The page will be updated periodically (typically every weekend) with status updates on the chapters currently in the works. So if there doesn’t happen to be a release one weekend, check there and you’ll know not only that we’re working on it, but how far into it we are, as well as a target release date. Chapter 40 is also nearing completion.
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming…
Lilia could only sigh. Whatever she said, it would fall on deaf ears. They were utterly convinced that they were the ones in the right. Lilia’s irritation only grew. It was as if her past self were standing right in front of her. Under her breath, Lilia whispered, it’s about that time, and moved her gaze alone toward the classroom door.
At the same time, the door opened, and the teacher came in. The Prince followed soon after. It was plain to see that they were both bewildered by the bizarre atmosphere that had fallen over the classroom.
Lilia shifted her gaze back to Sera.
“This is a good opportunity, so I’ll declare this plainly.”
Lilia raised her voice so that the Prince could hear her clearly as well. The Prince and the teacher looked over to Lilia. In the corner of her eye, she could see them both frown as if to say, what are you doing this time?
“I…have lost all interest in that foolish prince.”
Not even trying to hide it, Sera’s eyes opened wide in surprise. The Prince was also at a loss for words, but his face quickly started turning red.
“To be honest, I don’t even want to imagine being by that idiot’s side.”
The Prince’s eyes were still as he started moving over to where Lilia was. Taking note of that, Lilia brandished a smile at Sera.
Sera froze in her seat, and the Prince’s footsteps came to a stop. Lilia looked down on Sera and uttered a quiet declaration.
“As for you, I no longer need you by my side.”
Lilia withdrew her gaze from Sera, and fixed her eyes on the Prince. The Prince glared back in response.
“Why you, running your mouth like that all you want…”
“Oh my, aren’t you suffering under some misunderstanding here?”
Cutting through the Prince’s words, Lilia posed that question cheerfully. Before the Prince could say anything further, Lilia took the scrap of paper on her desk, holding it out to him.
He took it in confusion, reading the words written on the note. In that instant, the Prince’s expression was dyed in one of rage.
“What the hell is this?!”
The prince shouted and scrutinised his surroundings. Everybody averted their eyes from his gaze. In the same moment, Lilia cheerfully filled him in.
“Your Highness. This note was written by Sera Valdia, who is sitting right here. I borrowed the note from Tina.”
“What did you just say…?”
When the Prince glared at Sera, she sent a pleading glance to those around her, looking as if she might cry. But nobody dared meet her eyes. They’ve already realised that there’s nothing they can do for her now.
“I’ll leave this one’s punishment up to you, Your Highness.”
Lilia’s voice echoed throughout the now utterly silent classroom. The Prince quickly came back to his senses and levelled another glare at Lilia.
“That’s right, you…what you said just before was too…”
“I have no intention of retracting my words.”
Dumbfounded, the Prince couldn’t speak, so Lilia continued where she left off, saying after all,
“It’s your responsibility to protect Tina. It’s none of my business who you fall in love with, but your show of favour toward her will also attract hostility from your surroundings. Do try to understand that.”
The Prince’s words stopped there. Without saying anything more, his gaze fell to the scrap of paper in his hand. Lilia didn’t hide her sigh.
“Your Highness. You cast me away and chose Tina. After going that far, if you aren’t even going to protect that girl… what are you trying to accomplish?”
The Prince raised his head. He looked as if he were about to say something, but in the end, he couldn’t seem to put it into words. Lilia averted her eyes from the Prince and spoke,
“Looking at you up close, you really are nothing but a foolish prince.”
Leaving the Prince with those icy words, Lilia left the classroom at a slow, deliberate pace.
—You’ve suddenly got some free time, huh?
—So it seems.
After she left the classroom, Lilia wandered around the school building aimlessly. As she walked, she replayed the scene in the classroom in her mind over and over again. I’ve sure gone and done it again, lamented Lilia as she wallowed in regret. Sakura laughed and told her it would be fine, but no matter how you look at it, her actions would do nothing to improve her public image. Even Lilia could understand that now.
—I wonder what’s going to happen to that girl.
—If you’re talking about Sera, she likely won’t be able to remain at this academy. She probably won’t be driven out, but after making His Highness an enemy, I doubt there’s anyone willing to lend her a hand.
Talk of what happened today will spread quickly. And then, everyone will refuse to acknowledge her presence. They’ll treat her as if she wasn’t even there. Without anyone to talk to, Sera’s life at the academy will become a lonely one. What she does after that is up to her. However, given Sera’s personality, it’s likely she’ll flee from the academy.
—Hey, Lilia. So this is just an idea, but…
—That girl; Sera, was it? Take her under your wing.
Lilia’s feet came to a halt, and she dubiously raised her eyebrow. When she asked Sakura why, she said:
—It’s just a feeling, I guess. I mean, in the first place, she did all of those things for your sake. If you teach her how to behave properly around her surroundings, I’m sure she’ll become a good person.
—Even though I’m the one that backed her into a corner?
—-Well, that’s…yeah. After all that’s happened, I think you really did go too far… But I think it might actually be alright. If you try talking to her this weekend, I’m sure she’ll cling to you desperately.
Lilia had misgivings about the way Sakura wanted to go about it, but decided to believe in her and follow her plan. Lilia had known all three of those girls since she enrolled in the academy. Though Sera is reaping what she sowed, it would be a lie to say that Lilia had no thoughts of finishing her off. By the same token, she couldn’t say she didn’t feel some small desire – truly, only the smallest inclination – to help Sera.
—Yup. I have to say, it’s hard to tell how you really feel. I mean, your feelings toward Sera are so weak…
—To be perfectly honest, I don’t care one way or the other.
—And that’s exactly what makes you Lilia, damn it.
Confusingly, Sakura muttered, We’ve got a long road ahead of us, huh… With no destination in mind, Lilia started heading toward the library.
Lilia entered the usual library room with Ray’s permission, and listened to Sakura’s lecture as usual. And then, Ray said:
“I heard that Mistress Lilianne and His Highness The Prince got into a quarrel at last night’s party.”
Lilia couldn’t help but freeze after hearing the words Ray uttered. But Lilia immediately pretended nothing was wrong, and lowered her gaze to the book in front of her, pretending to read. Lilia tried to put on an air of calmness, but her stiff expression betrayed her. Ray didn’t seem to notice her expression, fortunately, as he was busy reading through the textbook in front of him.
Now is the time, Prince! It’s time to wake up to reality! …Or not!