43. Operation Start
At the academy, after class. Sharina had to remain at the royal palace for the princess education. She went to the park and entered the same carriage as Roland. As the carriage traveled, Roland talked about how he saw through everything, and everyone was but foolish clowns.
She didn’t talk back. She kept her mouth shut as much as possible and spent the day like a puppet.
Then, a week passed.
“Fufu, it seems that the other students are also beginning to see your true nature…”
After arriving at the academy, they alighted from the carriage. Naturally, she had to get off alone. Roland didn’t help her. In fact, he seemed unwilling to extend his hand. Inwardly, Sharina felt relieved.
After all, if she had to pretend to be a girl who was only in love for money and power, she would have to absolutely accept his hand. Her mannerisms also dictated her to do so. As if pretending to be madly in love with Roland wasn’t already difficult enough.
She heard a small voice calling her name. Sharina turned around and stood was her pale-faced classmate, Kate Fairfield.
“Y, Your Highness, Roland, please, allow me to talk, she, she is actually—”
Before Sharina could stop her, Angelica had already grabbed Kate by the shoulder. Angelica forcibly pulled Kate and walked away.
“I’m sorry to have disturbed you, Your Highness, I’ll have a proper discussion with this friend of mine…”
Roland scoffed as he stared at them with ridicule. The other students also averted their gaze awkwardly.
“Isn’t that red-haired girl your best friend? How unfortunate for you, to be abandoned by your own best friend…”
Ever since Sharina had been announced as Roland’s top fiancée candidate, only a few students dared approach her.
“…It can’t be helped. After all, she is the first member of Dahlia Garden.”
The other students murmured to each other as they passed by.
Roland joyfully interpreted it as everyone being suspicious and resentful of Sharina.
…However, in reality, there was a great deal of distrust towards Roland and the royal family. Roland was avoided by everyone—but he didn’t seem to be aware of it. He probably thought everyone was treating him with reverence.
Most of the adult aristocrats outside the academy were convinced by the queen’s remarks. But the students who knew how happy Sharina was with Riol, and how she subsequently became doll-like after her engagement with Roland, became further distrustful of Roland.
The teachers twisted the facts in a way that would accommodate the queen’s narrative with all their might. On the other hand, Roland believed his twisted delusions could only be the truth. He truly believed his honor was slowly but surely recovering.
“Then, Your Highness, I shall take my leave.”
After giving some emotionless parting words, Sharina turned on her heels. Of course, he didn’t escort her to her classroom, either—which was a relief, because that would have been troublesome.
“Ah, right, I forgot to tell you—”
—Usually, Roland would’ve brilliantly ignored her farewell and left. But today, he was different.
Sharina had taken a few steps when he beckoned for her.
“It looks he hasn’t appeared since then? That boy, your familiar, why isn’t he seeing you anymore?”
Looking back, there stood the triumphant figure of Roland. That face of his was as if his long-time resentment had finally been avenged.
“…Because of my current role, he can no longer do as he please, after all.”
She had already made as many water magic stones as she could. If the amount was still not enough, there were Angelica and Tobias.
From that point, Sharina could only move as the prince wanted—at least until the next day. She also couldn’t question anything and had to devote her utmost to be a doll-like existence. That way, the queen wouldn’t realize her rebellious intentions.
“Fufu, I already guessed you’d say that. That boy is no longer of any use to you… basically, he’s useless. No wonder he has withdrawn. He must be feeling so pathetic right now, to the point of crying…”
…Even though the one who had been withdrawn until a while ago was none other than him.
Roland’s satisfaction seemed to have stemmed from his belief that their positions had reversed. With a satisfied smile, Roland calmly left.
During lunch break, Riol told Sharina through Tobias that the amulet had been completed. She was also told of how to use it, and the details of the operation.
“Nostilia—which is located far North of Elgacia, is a cold region covered with snow for one-third of the year, including its royal capital. That frozen region accounts for more than 70% of this kingdom’s import of ice magic stones.”
It was a room as large as the classrooms of Fala Rubia Academy. Despite that, there was only one student—Sharina.
“It’s also hailed as a kingdom loved by the ice spirits. The nation worships the ice spirits as a whole. Among its royal family, those with silver hair and amethyst eyes have the right to succeed the throne. Everyone with those traits is considered a beloved child of the ice spirits, after all.”
A desk was also placed in the center of the large room. Considering that place as a classroom was difficult. If that was a new method of bullying, it went beyond extravagant. After all, there was only a single seat.
“Ever since the founding of that kingdom, research on spiritual arts has been ongoing. As such, there are many international students from this kingdom—”
It was the day after she received the letter from Riol pertaining the strategy. Sharina was being educated by the princess education’s tutor at the castle of Elgacia.
The students of the academy were on holiday while Sharina did not. Her school holidays were packed with classes all day long. After all, the late princess education required was intensiveness.
That day’s class was about the cultures of the other kingdoms which were closely related to Elgacia. Some were major trading countries, while others were in a tense state.
“Do you have any questions?”
“Yes, about the ‘beloved child of the ice spirits’… is that truly based only on their traits? What if they don’t have any skill?”
She especially picked a question that could be easily answered by the tutor. Doing so would raise the tutor’s impression of her.
“…Is the class going well?”
…then, the heavy door of the classroom was opened. A woman with sharp blue eyes and tightly-tied blonde hair appeared.
“Good day to you, Your Majesty the Queen.”
Next to the tutor who instantly corrected his posture, Sharina immediately stood up and greeted her.
It wasn’t uncommon for the queen to come see her during lessons.
Sharina was aware that even though on the surface the queen appeared to be supporting her, the queen was actually reluctant. After all, Sharina was an undesired queen.
From the queen’s perspective, she was most likely certain that once Sharina’s puppy love subsided, she’d be like any other women, aiming to be the queen. However, in order to make sure Sharina didn’t rebel, the queen had to be convinced that Sharina had completely changed.
“Even though the princess education should’ve been received since childhood… well, do your best to catch up.”
“I understand. I will do my best.”
Sharina respectfully bowed while the tutor in charge smiled with approval. By doing that, Sharina wanted to strengthen the impression that, ‘she was working hard on her strict princess education, and also respond to the queen’s mercy with enthusiasm.’
The queen’s sudden appearance was probably intended to instill the thought that Sharina was always being watched. It also carried the implication that the queen would always be there to deter Sharina’s actions.
“Thank you for your concern.”
“That’s good. I’ll also fulfill my end of the bargain, which is to recommend you to be his fiancée.”
It was an extremely unpleasant visit, but it wasn’t special to that day. Rather, the queen often came. The queen didn’t bother to get permission to visit and started talking.
“Even though Your Majesty is busy, you’ve taken time for me and others…”
“Don’t be like that. The fact that you’re Roland’s fiancée also means that you’ll be my future daughter-in-law.”
It was a nausea-inducing exchange.
However, that wasn’t the end of it.
“Then… as your future daughter-in-law, may I request something of you?”
“What is it?”
Sharina pursed her lips as she bowed her head and stared at her feet.
It’s okay, I didn’t sound unnatural…
It was merely a daughter-in-law making a small request to her future mother-in-law who came to visit her amidst her busy schedule.
“I may have become a fiancée candidate for his highness, but I haven’t been able to give my greetings to my future father-in-law.”
As if her heart was constricted with pain, Sharina remorsefully lowered her gaze for the unreasonableness of her request, and abruptly stopped talking.
“…I’d like to express my sympathy to His Majesty the King.”
Then, she slowly looked up at the queen and pleaded with a lovable tone.
***T/N: ///Blank stare/// …Which is more painful, guys? Is it tying someone to a golf course and crushing them with a golf cart, or crushing their bones one by one with a baseball bat?
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