Akiru was born into a family that had been running a brewery for generations. Their sake was famous as a local specialty, so Akiru had wanted for nothing as she grew up. She knew it, too.
Then her life took a turn once she entered middle school.
Her earlier education had been a private primary school in a large city. She had spent her time as carefree as could be, playing with friends from affluent families and taking lessons in the arts. She had thought that her life would continue like this, that she would coast along through middle to high school to enter an affiliated university, but her grandfather, the chief brewer and president of the company at the time, had decided that she should move back to their hometown for her education.
While it was only a thirty-minutes car ride from the city, to Akiru, the town might as well be in the middle of nowhere. No nearby trendy cafes, nor shopping malls that she could visit on the way home from school with her friends. Furthermore, the public middle school she would be attending didn’t even have enough students to fill a single class for each of its years. Coming from an academy that expected actual decorum out of its students, it was quite a shock to Akiru.
Still, it didn’t mean everything was terrible.
The class had only seventeen students, yet so many of them were good-looking people that it almost felt like they had been hand-picked.
And of particular note were Sei and Hao, two male students who looked more than handsome enough to be models. The first time she saw them, even her own heart began to race despite herself.
It was no romantic love. It was the kind of love a fan had for her idol. Regardless, it didn’t change the fact to Akiru, she might as well have found an oasis in the middle of a desert.
With the social skills that she had gained in her earlier years of living among aristocrats, she smoothly put on her sheep’s clothing and mingled with the class as though she had always belonged.
Sei was the so-called ‘honor student’ type, the kind Akiru had often seen in her private primary school, but Hao, a sporty and roguish boy, was exotic to her. She began to act the part of an elegant princess to try to attract his attention. She had been certain, had been convinced that no country boy could resist a lady such as her.
Yet Akiru’s plan had fallen through just because of one particular girl.
It was a half-Japanese girl who was conscious of her height, of her unusually-colored eyes, of all the things that made her different from others, and so she always hung her head low, hid her eyes, and talked to nobody else in the class.
And then, the two male idols of the class began to pay attention to her.
Perhaps they hadn’t been interested in her in that way; perhaps they were just being kind. Still, it rubbed Akiru the wrong way. She hated that they had ignored her in favor of the other girl.
So she began her subtle arrangements in order to incite the three overt bullies that also shared her displeasure. She nudged their thoughts and guided their hands to do the dirty deeds, while her own stayed clean.
She hadn’t done it because of any grand reason.
If there was one to speak of, then perhaps she had simply wanted an outlet for her stress, for the frustrations that she had been enduring ever since she came to this town.
The new status quo continued for more than a year. Then one day, all of the class, including Akiru, was summoned into another world.
While some of the more delusional boys were exhilarated, thinking it was a Hero Summoning, Akiru immediately realized what the world around her was.
It was the world of the online otome game: Light, Darkness, and Love Online 2 – The Millefeuille of Love.
The country’s name, the people’s names, the situation, they were all extremely similar to the game’s.
Akiru’s father had thought his daughter unfortunate when she was made to go to a public middle school, so he spoiled her. He gave her everything she wanted. Among them, she found this game.
When asked, her father had said that he never remembered buying the game. They soon put it out of their minds, however.
In the game, other than the main heroine, the playable characters also included the middle-school students who had been summoned from Earth. Believing that this truly was the world of Light, Darkness, and Love Online 2 – The Millefeuille of Love, Akiru was delighted.
Especially when she thought there was a chance she could meet a certain ‘capture’ character from the game.
Yohanne de Michel, fourteen years old. Son of a marquis. A fourth-year student at the magic academy. Brother of a different mother to Sharon, one of the villainesses, as well as the character to fill the ‘cute little boy’ spot of the game’s casting.
Yohanne was born from a union of true love between the marquis and a lady of a count’s family. Fearing that the boy might be harmed by the marquis’ legal wife and Sharon, the marquis had hidden him away.
He grew up being told by his mother about his sister, Sharon, and her unbecoming conduct as a noble. And once he heard that that very same sister was now a fiancee candidate to prince Joel, he was troubled.
The player character would lend him an ear and listen to his worries, as well as his wishes to prevent his sister from committing any more misdeeds. They would be given the evidence by his mother, and upon bringing Sharon’s crimes to light, they would fulfill the condition to have Yohanne as their boyfriend.
Yohanne was Akiru’s absolute favorite character. Time after time, she won against her rivals in the online game to capture his heart.
Perhaps her interest in Hao had been nothing more than a way to live out her fantasy in real life. She saw innocent Yohanne in him, and she wanted to have for herself the mischievous smile that Yohanne made whenever he was alone with the player character.
She was sure that some of her classmates were also aware of the game. There was even a possibility that the main heroine, the viscount’s daughter, would become her enemy.
So Akiru was careful. She wasn’t such an idiot that she would reveal what she knew. In the end, her meticulous scheme to gain Yohanne’s affection was successful: she had been invited to meet his family.
“…is she going to be in my way again?”
What a beautiful day today. Warm sun, cool wind, and even a bit of chilling malice off in the distance. So nice.
Greetings, everyone. It is me, Fleurety, the eternal guardian of milady’s blessed bosom.
“Milady, there are several letters addressed to you in the dorm’s mailbox.”
It is while milady is taking happy nibbles of her snack (kouign-amann and a cup of extra-sweet milk tea) that I brought her the news.
“…eh?” She blinks her doe-eyes in surprise.
While important correspondence between nobles are normally handed directly to the receiver, even noble students would have to follow the rules as long as they live in the dorm.
It is always impressive to see that milady continues to be the uncontested Queen of Loners whenever I check her mailbox. It still looks brand-new even now, since even her family don’t write to her.
“Letty… I know you just had another unflattering thought.”
“I was just thinking that your arms these days have gotten somewhat plump, milady.”
“T-That’s because you feed me sweet stuff all the time!”
Milady says that, yet she still continues to munch on the pastry like a little hamster. So cute.
“Do not worry, milady, it is necessary nutrition. You’re still perfectly slim.” I reply, smiling sweetly to her.
“Umm, yes, of course I am!”
She radiates relief. She then takes another sip of the cup of milk tea that has so much sugar in it, the liquid is almost molasses now.
I don’t drink that stuff. I’ll get fat.
“Alright, Letty, give me the summary.”
“Then I shall begin with your right arm’s plumpiness—”
“I’m talking about the letters!”
I shall have to check them out later in the bath.
That aside, the reason why such a loner as milady got letters is because of the reveal of her true beauty yesterday. As a result, there has been a deluge of invitations from delusional buffoons who thought they had a chance with milady.
“Let’s see… then I believe the most important among them is his Highness Joel’s invitation to a meal.”
Milady’s eyes bulge in surprise. It seems that whatever the prince tried to say yesterday, it wasn’t simply a moment’s fancy.
Such a wretched man, he is. He used to pay not a hint of attention to milady Sharon, despite the fact that she was supposed to be one of his fiancee candidates. And now that she has gotten just a bit prettier, he shows his true colors.
“All the same, his is not an invitation milady can ignore. I shall arrange your schedule.”
“That’s fine. Anything else important?”
I sort through the letters. Rabbles and riffraffs… I’ll investigate their names later… my, what is this?
“There is an invitation to a tea party from the young lady of a viscount. Are you acquainted with her, milady?”
The invitation is from lady Clarice, one of the people in my class group. It seems I am also invited.
“…we haven’t really talked, but I also don’t remember her ever be rude to me. Why did she send an invitation?”
“Then shall I propose that milady accepts, with the condition that I am also allowed to attend?”
“Yeah, that’s fine… thanks.”
Milady seems to be relieved that I will be with her. I see her hands fidgeting in apparent bashfulness.
“Well then, next is…”
I come to one particular letter. The moment I see it, I twist my body in a perfect half-circle and hurl the letter with all my strength, sending it into the trash can in a corner of the room.
“There is nothing else notable, milady.”
“No no no hold on I saw that! That was a letter from my family, wasn’t it?!”
Tsk. So she noticed.
I reluctantly, begrudgingly pick up the letter that has the insignia of the Michel marquis family, pinching it with two of my fingers and holding it as far away from me as possible, and I give it to milady. She wryly smiles.
“I understand how you feel, I really do. But moderate yourself.”
“My sincere apologies.”
What a blunder. As a maid to milady, I have made a grave mistake.
I bow in sincere remorse. Milady lightly pats my head and opens the envelope.
Upon giving the contents a glance, her mood visibly sours. See, this is why I didn’t want her to see it…
The vermins that have been ignoring her for years now suddenly sent a letter.
A little over four years, to be precise, as milady entered this magic academy when she was ten years old. In all that time, she only returned home twice. Understandable — while this academy isn’t exactly the best environment, it is still far more desirable than the compost bin that is her home.
They never even gave her the support that they should have, much less a letter. What do they want now?
“What was the contents, milady?”
Normally it wouldn’t be a question a simple maid should ever ask, but this is an exception.
“…they told me they’ve heard of my ‘wrongdoings’ from Yohanne, and they want me to return right away to explain myself.”
“The younger brother again?”
And I suppose the ‘wrongdoing’ is that I’d become milady’s Partner? Such small ***** they have.
“Just as well that his Highness Joel’s invitation has arrived at the same time. Let us refuse, milady.”
“…no, Letty. I can’t run away forever. Besides, they might just let loose some unsavory rumors if I continue to ignore them.”
Milady sounds like she’s speaking from experience.
“I understand. May I just say that it doesn’t make it any less aggravating, however.”
Hearing my frank admission, milady snorts.
“But this may be a good chance, too. I… umm… I have you with me now…”
She says, smiling bashfully. Precious! Too precious!
Overcome with emotion, I instantly kneel in front of her and speak my vows once more.
“I, Fleurety, hereby solemnly swear that with my Dynamite Punch, the rivers will run red with the blood of all who wishes to bring harm upon milady!”
“I never asked for that!”
The next morning, after we have sent in our notice of absent to the academy, we leave for milady’s home.
“I never thought that strict dorm mother would actually lend us her personal horse carriage…”
“She was very glad to help us, milady.”
The dorm mother is an unmarried lady in her forties who is very harsh with the dorm’s girls, but I’m sure she’s a kind woman deep down. She was grumbling about milady under her breath when she first heard we would be absent, but once she noticed my kind gaze, she paled and finished doing our formalities in no time at all.
See, isn’t she such a considerate person? She should rest assured, I won’t tell anyone about her sneaking into town and buying young boys to accompany her.
“Then I shall take the liberty to be the driver.”
“Can you handle horses, Letty?”
The horse looked strangely scared of me when we first got on the carriage, but it soon turned obedient after some persuasion.
To reach the territory of the Michel marquis, it generally takes a day and a half in a carriage. But as we left early in the morning and the horse has been very enthusiastic, we arrive during the evening of the same day.
The energy drink made from monster blood that I gave it along the way has worked well, it seemed.
“…here we are, Letty.”
The Michel marquis’ mansion looks less a mansion and more like a small castle. Painted by the light of the setting sun, the stone almost seems like it’s been drenched in blood.
It looks amazing.
I stop the carriage in front of the gate. Despite calling us here, there isn’t anyone there to welcome us. Not even the gate guards.
“I am Sharon, and I have returned. Open the gates!”
She calls out, her clear voice reverberating through the air. On the other side of the gate, I can see some people who look like the security staff playing cards. They look up in surprise upon hearing her voice… and then return to their game.
“You, open the gates now! I am—”
“Milady, allow me.”
We can just return home, but that would mean milady’s determination would go to waste. I decide to take things into my own hands.
“Milady, whenever we visit someone, we should first knock.”
Milady’s eyes bulge as she sees me taking out Orc Killer EX.
Orc Killer EX is simply Orc Killer with its ball end coated in a kind of metal that is as heavy as depleted uranium.
The metal had been thought as a cursed item that brought its owner toward a gradual and inevitable death. It had been languishing in a corner, and it was why I got it at a fraction of the price.
I can still hear some ghastly moaning coming from the weapon in my hand even now. The coating took really well, if I do say so myself.
“Hello, and excuse us.”
I say, at the same time swinging the spiked club. The gates made out of magic iron crumple like wet paper.
Dust billows around us. Cards fall from the stupefied gate guards’ hands. I give them a smile then turn to milady, who looks at me in open-mouth shock.
“The gate must have deteriorated quite a bit. Come, milady.”
And so it is that we return to milady’s home without any problems.