22. I Shall Enjoy These Wonderful Consecutive Days Off (2)
—30 days remaining.
“—Therefore, keeping hold over the weaknesses of others is important. Acquiring information with money is possible, but you may end up exposed on the spot if you do that. The secret to winning an intelligence war is to give a firm impression—‘Turning me into your enemy would be a mistake.’”
We had a fun and enjoyable night of studying. Of course, it was held at the residence of Baron Alban.
After greeting the baron in the morning, he left due to business. That day was a good opportunity to teach some things that were difficult to learned at the academy.
I shall teach her how to manage her life!
…Yet, Lumiere looked even worse that day. From what I could tell, she wasn’t sick. While shaking, she was looking at some letters on the desk that we always used.
I went around the desk while playing with the pointer—
—what’s the problem?
“What’s with those threatening letters?”
“W, why does Lady Lelouche have these!?”
“I told you yesterday? I collected some while the others were given to me.”
They were the letters regarding Lumiere’s bullying, the same ones I showed to god yesterday. They had either been thrown away or were being collected by others for fun. Some of them were torn, and I had only acquired three of them.
I merely brought them with me to use as impactful texts…
…But the impact was too much.
“I, I’ve been doing well—”
“Just in case, do you really believe I’ve been bullying you?”
I tilted my head slightly in pure doubt. Lumiere immediately raised her face.
“…The part where I’m being told to bury myself and study 5 books is true.”
“They were actually seven books.”
“Are you a demon!?”
“Well, even if you cry every day, you still studied, no?”
I let out such an adorable fact.
Lumiere, whose blue eyes were filled with tears even that day, was staring at me.
“Pardon me for speaking out—”
—She imitated the correct manner of speaking to a superior. That told me she was slowly accustoming herself to the rules of the royal castle.
After acquiring my permission, Lumiere continued.
“—His Highness Sazanjill said that Lady Lelouche would never do such a thing.”
Why was his name being mentioned?
Was she trying to keep me in check? Was she so tired of studying that she wanted to joke around?
That couldn’t be the case, thought. I had been mentoring her for 60 days. It wasn’t a long time, but I had grown to comprehend her a little.
She wasn’t one to tell jokes while sporting such a serious expression.
“Not long after I enrolled in the academy… about half a year ago, I started getting bullied. I happened to have the prince by my side and things calmed down for a while…”
…Someone like her wouldn’t usually get along with the first prince, someone who also happened to be her senior.
However, if I were to point that out, the conversation would surely stop. First of all, I had to listen to her until the end.
“But the day before our break ended, I received a letter—supposedly from you, Lady Lelouche. The letter told me that if I don’t distance myself from His Highness, I wouldn’t get away with it., Sazanjill—I mean, His Highness then yelled, ‘Luche wouldn’t do such a thing—!’”
Lelouche corrected herself. However, I didn’t care about that.
“Go on.” I urged her.
Her hands, which were clasped on top of her thighs, trembled.
“His Highness said that he’d like some time to resolve the misunderstanding. He thought that by saying greeting Lady Lelouche directly, he’d be able prove your innocence. But the bullying only intensified… the prince, he was unable to withstand it, so he began to stay by my side. Nothing happens when we’re together.”
“Did you start being harassed around a month after enrolling into the academy?”
“Actually, it began about five months ago…”
…It was around that time when the rumors began that, ‘His Highness had a lover.’
Around the end of the long vacation, the rumors had earnestly transformed into, ‘The first prince is planning to annul his engagement with Lady Elcage.’
Afterwards, I heard the prophecy from god—
—that I’d die in a hundred days.
“…Then, after school, Lady Lelouche scolded me—no, taught me how to study!?”
“—and then the bullying lessened in intensity once again.”
“Yes, I’ve hardly been alone at academy… until very recently.”
Well, His Highness and her would ambush me quite early in the morning. Then, he’d be with her during lunch. She’d also be tutored by me almost every day after school. As such, she’s had almost no opportunities to interact with other people.
But recently, the bullying had intensified once again.
“But, you’re otherwise unfazed by the recent harassment?”
“Yes, compare to Lady Lelouche’s tutoring, they are—”
Oh, my. Don’t look up at me with such a expression face after such a slip of tongue. If you carelessly show such loveliness, you’d be taken advantage of by bad guys.
—what a pain.
I laughed a little and confirmed to Lumiere.
“Then, you know for yourself, don’t you—I’m not the culprit.”
“Of course! …But, these letters… On the contrary, there’s no proof that Lady Lelouche isn’t the culprit.”
“That’s just the devil’s proof.”
The handwriting of the letter didn’t belong to me.
But it was a short letter, and I could have just altered my handwriting.
To prove that I didn’t do it was harder than proving that I did it. How difficult—
—The devil is more troublesome than god.
“His Highness believed in me from the beginning…”
Lumiere nodded at my soliloquy.
If what she said was true, maybe it’d be better to talk with His Highness as soon as possible and not at the end of the day.
I couldn’t help but lower my gaze.
So far, all I did was reject him.
How should I face him after everything?
As if to crush my anxiety, Lumiere gripped my hands.
“Please, won’t you listen to His Highness Sazanjill!?”
“…But, are you alright with that? Don’t you want a special relationship with His Highness?”
It was mean of me to ask.
However, if I were to be at odds with His Highness, wasn’t there a chance she could become the new crown princess?
When asked about that possibility, she showed an uneasy smile.
“I’d be lying if I were to say I didn’t dream of that.”
“But I’m no match for Lady Lelouche—after all, you’re terrifying.”
She said that with a cute smile.
I pressed my finger on the face that everyone thought was adorable.
“’I’m no match for you,’ you say? Alright then, 30 vocal exercises as punishment!”
I hit her on the back with the pointer and looked at the window.
My face, which was reflected upon the window that gave way to a the beautiful garden, showed a slight smile—
—but only slightly.
***T/N: Oh god I’m not ready for what’s going to happen next… Also, thief cat is certainly not giving the full story here lol wth.
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