I Reincarnated As A Noble Girl Villainess But Why Did It Turn Out This Way? – 253
Part 4 “Appropriation” – Introduction
Episode 30 Accompanist Contest – 3
──Darn. I had forgotten that this person even existed.
“Oh, are you all by yourself now? I was wondering if I could talk to you about something? I won’t take much of your time…”
Seeing Stefania smiling brightly, I held the sigh that was about to escape my mouth.
I never thought I would regret my actions so soon.
I could still see the dining room I had escaped from just a few moments ago, but there was no sign of anyone else coming out of it yet.
I had left without finishing the after-meal tea. And though she wouldn’t have been considered to be rude for it, Emilia still wasn’t in a position to cut the Crown Prince’s luncheon short. She told me she’d have to wait a little longer before she could leave, so we parted ways for the time being.
“…I’ll appreciate it if you could be brief about it. I’m currently waiting for Lady Emilia.”
“Being quite serious today, aren’t we? Is the Archduchess of a defeated country that important? …Wait, does this mean her future has already been decided?”
Though she didn’t hide her scorn towards Emilia, her reading of the situation was on point.
If Emilia were to be married into the Archduke’s family, that would mean that she would acquire a status equivalent to royalty. After that, were she to take even one step outside of the academy, she would be protected in a way that is incomparable to someone who was regarded as an “Archduchess of a defeated country”.
“The person in Lady Emilia’s escort duty has to behave according to His Majesty’s standards. Being that person myself, I will do my best to honor the King’s trust, regardless of who I am to escort.”
However, I had no obligation to get into the details of Emilia’s circumstances with Stephania.
Stefania covered her mouth with her fingertips as she tried to hide her attempt at changing her annoyed expression into a fake smile, but I saw right through it. Her words and demeanor had already become quite irritating to me. I shifted my attitude to make her understand that I had no intention to hear whatever it was that she wanted to tell me if she was going to continue to waste her breath like that.
“So, what did you want to talk about?”
“…Right. You said you’re in a hurry.”
Stephania smiled again, and said; “Actually, I have a favor to ask of you.”
“I’ll go straight to the point. I was wondering if you’d be my accompanist.”
── Ah. So that’s what this is about.
From Stefania’s “request”, I could finally solve the mystery behind those puzzling letters and instructions that I’ve been continuously getting since this morning.
I wasn’t sure if she thought that the accompanist’s position would be a factor in the Priestess selection, or if there was some other reason, but those were probably formal requests for me to become her accompanist.
I could now see that they could have only been sent from someone whose family had no relations to mine. Had they been from a family with contacts with mine, I’m sure I wouldn’t have undertaken such a request for no reason.
“Father has been wishing to become acquainted with you for a long time, Earl Kaldia. but it’s hard to get a hold of you. I was wondering if I could introduce you to him. Since I’ll be graduating from the academy this spring, I think I won’t have many opportunities to ask this of you in the future.”
It seems that Stefania’s situation was a little different, but in the end, I judged from her tone that her main goal was still to have me become her accompanist.
The fact that she had used her own father as a way to try to ease me into accepting her proposal while hiding her true intentions only made me feel worse about her.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t accept your proposal to be your accompanist. Regarding Marquis Schuttzeloier’s wish, let’s arrange for a meeting at our earliest convenience.”
At any rate, it had already been decided that I would be doing Emilia’s musical accompaniment.
Were Grace to take my place starting from the first assignment, it would be a different story, but unless I received such a notice, I would have no say on the matter. This had already been decided by the court.
“…I see. That’s a shame.”
Now that she had already used her father as a pretext, Stephania had nothing left to leverage her request with.
I wondered if she hadn’t figured there would be a chance I’d turn her down. With her gaze cast downwards, Stephania bowed in silence, and quickly left the area.
…Though my ears did manage to pick up the sound of her teeth grinding against each other.
“Reka, do you have a minute?”
After waiting for Stephania to be completely out of sight, I turned to the alcove, where the curtains were drawn.
Reka and Tira popped their faces out of the gap between the curtains. A little later, Vanita’s face joined in, and the sight of their three faces popping out of the curtains –which for some reason were comically lined on top of each other like some kind of totem pole– forced a chuckle out of me.
“Is your conversation over?”
“Yeah. I’d like to take another look at the letters and messages while I’m here. Have you finished putting them all together?”
“Yes, I have.”
With an enthusiastic look on his face, Vanita quickly withdrew behind the curtain, then lightly rushed towards me with a stack of paper.
It seemed that changing his prosthetic leg was the right call. There truly is nothing like being able to move your body freely.
After checking the summarized letters and messages, I could see that, as I had suspected, they were all requests for me to become someone else’s accompanist. There were only two cases where the family seemed to want to use the accompanist requests as an excuse to establish a connection with me. For those two cases alone I would actually pay attention to what they have to say, as well as concern myself with a reply.
“Did you write this?”
The handwriting in this summarized report was not Reka’s. Though it still showed a certain degree of inexperience, these carefully written letters were probably Vanita’s.
“Ah… I’m sorry. I… I asked if I could do the writing…”
“Why are you apologizing? You did well. Writing is a skill that takes time to learn, but it’s also an important asset for any civil official. I think I’ll be entrusting you with more writing from now on.”
Among those who could join me at the academy, Ratoka had been the only one who could be entrusted with secretarial work so far, so I thought it would be a great help for her if Vanita could also be assigned to help her with some of her work. His “battle-readiness”, which was probably a result of his background, had proven to become quite the unexpected asset.
“Lady Eliza, you’re giving him too many compliments at once. Vanita won’t be able to handle it…”
“I wonder why only subordinates and servants are damned with lavish praise… This person…”
Reka and Tira immediately stood on both sides of Vanita and muttered something. It was a very quiet whisper, especially for Tira, but they had spoken with the same etiquette as if we had been on campus.
“…Is something the matter?”
The two silently pointed at Vanita, who was totally petrified, and his completely reddened face had an expression that was impossible to describe.