2. The Crying Thieving Cat
—99 days remaining.
When I woke up, I was in a familiar room.
It was none other than my bedroom in the mansion. The only strange thing was that the most beautiful man in the kingdom stood before me.
Dazzling golden locks. Eyes as blue as the sky and as vast as the ocean—
—he was the man people would commonly refer to as the ‘Golden Prince.’
…However, there were scratches on his chin.
What on earth happened?
“Your Highness Sazanjill…? What happened to your chin…?”
“W, who cares about that!?”
…How could I not worry about you? It looks terrible…
Well, if that was what he said. By the way, Sazanjill was three years older than me. Now, why was my 18-years-old fiancé waiting inside my room?
It’d be disrespectful to continue lying down. I tried to get up, but… I was so dizzy, I had no strength. When I was about to fall off the bed, a woman’s hand caught me.
“Do not overexert yourself—!”
…Ah, I see.
When I heard her voice, I understood everything.
Lumiere Alban. Vivid, coral-colored, hair—the exact opposite of my black hair. Her long, straight, hair extended to her waist. Fluffy side bangs flowed down her collarbones. Her body was neither too tall, nor too slender, and neither too plump, nor too small.
Even if we were classmate, considering my status, I was the [Un], while she wasn’t a [Deux],but a [Trois]. Not only were our academic abilities different, she was also a baroness while I was a duchess.
My fiancé, who didn’t object to her informality, was putting a show of concern towards me for her sake.
Yes… the two of them were merely offering me their sympathies.
Well, thank you very much.
“It’s unnecessary for you to worry, Ms. Lumiere.”
Then, Lumiere started crying. Of course, Sazanjill immediately went to her aid. As he held her shoulders, he reprimanded me.
“Lelouche! Is that any way for you to respond to Lumiere’s concern!?”
“…I’m not really in any pain. I’m merely stating a fact.”
“Even so, you needn’t be so crass!”
Hey, Your Highness. Would you please consider your actions before nitpicking my trivial wording?
In front of his fiancée, in her room nonetheless, he was casually touching another woman. Was that the etiquette of a gentleman?
However, it was useless to pursue that.
His Highness was glaring at me while Lumiere was on the verge of tears…
…As long as they were happy, it was alright, I guess?
In any case, I’d die in a hundred days.
Even if I were to insist that I was more suitable for him, I’d just be wasting my time. Therefore, I decided to make it simple—if I couldn’t support him from his side, if my existence only amounted to that—
—then so be it.
All I could do was prepare them for the future as much as possible, then disappear.
“…Can I have some of your time tomorrow after school?”
“But, Lady Lelouch, your condition…”
“I’m truly fine. I’ll definitely head to the academy tomorrow. May I borrow Ms. Lumiere, Your Highness?”
“A, alright, just don’t overdo it…?”
Hey, Your Highness, by that, aren’t you referring to the wrong person?
I smiled gracefully without a hint of sarcasm.
There was no time to get worried about such a silly thing. I had little time left.
—98 days remaining.
After school the next day. I called Lumiere to an empty classroom. I had asked the teacher to lend us a room. For me, the eldest daughter of the Duke’s family, and also a well-behaved future crown princess, that arrangement was easy.
All this time, I didn’t have many opportunities to teach others. I felt little uplifted.
What was more, my student was a wild cat… is it rude to refer to her as such? But I thought that nickname was better than a thieving cat. Well, it wasn’t like I actually referred to her like that, so it didn’t matter.
“Lady Lelouche, what are we going to do today…?”
She probably thought I was inviting her to have some tea in the cafeteria. When she saw the textbooks and some of the pointers I had prepared, she became scared.
“I will teach you what I’ve learned.”
“As for etiquette, I will teach you all the basics.”
“As of the present, things aren’t looking well for you. To stand next to His Highness, there are a lot of things you have to learn.”
“As long as our hearts are connected, those are but trivial obstacles!”
…Eh, if you were someone of royal stature, that might be so.
Lumiere looked so triumphant. Did she know who she was going up against as a fiancée candidate for the future king? Did she honestly think an ignorant person who lacked basic manners deserve to stand on top?
…Well, all the more reasons for me to teach her, really.
“I’ve contacted your family about your delayed return.”
“Your father, Baron Alban, has requested this of met. ‘Thank you for your cooperation,’ is what he said. He also left a message for you—don’t be rude. Are you going to ignore your father’s encouragement?”
Lumiere was caught off-guard by my trick. For someone like me, doing such a thing was a piece of cake. Although it wasn’t my hobby.
Her father, Baron Alban, was a man of gentle character despite his almighty eyebrows. He was also said to be dotting towards his only daughter, Lumiere. On the other hand, Lumiere didn’t seem to possess the courage to humiliate her supportive father either.
When I added, “Of course, I’ll escort you home in my carriage,” her shoulders sank as if she were giving up.
“Alright, let’s start with the way you stand.”
Then, the beautiful god of the pure white world appeared.
“What are you doing?”
I blinked three times. Of course, I was surprised at being called by god. At the same time, I couldn’t understand the meaning behind his question.
Oh, was it about the education of Lumiere? With that in mind, I answered the question.
“Isn’t it the duty of the predecessor to educate her successor?”
I only stated the obvious, but the god’s eyebrows only furrowed even deeper.
“Besides, you only have a hundred days to live… I’ve told you, didn’t I?”
“To be precise, I only have 97 days left.”
“Is spending your precious remaining time on the child you hate really okay?”
‘The child I hate’… of course, he was referring to Lumiere. After all, she was the thieving cat who robbed my fiancée from me. If asked whether or not I hated her, I’d be lying if I said no.
…But that was it.
My personal feelings had nothing to do with politics.
“It’d be better for the future if the king and queen could support each other.”
I had no time to worry about titles. If His Highness and Lumiere were really close with each other, then that was fine. But she was too ignorant towards how to stand above the people, I had to make up for it.
“…Do you truly have no regrets?”
“If that’s how it is, it’s fine, so…”
Towards me who answered immediately, the god sounded stiff. From dreaming to waking up, I had never stopped smiling—
—because this is the path I’ve chosen.
I was Lelouche Elcage—the daughter of the duke, and the fiancée of the crown prince, Sazanjill.
Although, Ms. Lumiere?
I won’t give up on His Highness.
So… please be patient, it’s only for 97 days.
***T/N: I see… Lelouche has chosen the path of selflessness.
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