I Reincarnated As A Noble Girl Villainess But Why Did It Turn Out This Way? – 252
Part 4 “Appropriation” – Introduction
Episode 29 During the Scramble
“What’s wrong, Kaldia? Are you not hungry?”
As I turned to face the bright smile on the face of the Crown Prince, who was sitting to my right at the end of a long table prepared to be used by the royal family, I found myself immediately blurting out a “Please forgive me.”
I had a feeling as if a rush of cold sweat had started to gush out from every gland on my face. Perhaps it wasn’t just a feeling.
“I know you’re nervous, but please try to not make such a sullen face, Earl Kaldia. Even though it is an informal one, this is still the Crown Prince’s luncheon.”
That voice –which was full of thorns– belonged to Grays, who was sitting directly opposite from me by the table.
“Ah… I’m sorry. It’s an honor to be in a place like this…”
“Spewing out empty flattery as always, I see.”
As if me being here wasn’t already gruesome enough, it seemed that I would also have to put up with his sarcasm. In an attempt to block his cold, scornful, and sneering gaze, I turned to the Crown Prince, who was sitting right next to her, but he didn’t seem to care about any of this.
…Damn it! Why do I have to put up with this?
Emilia, Eric, and Sieghart were enjoying lunch peacefully at the other end of a long table. It was so long that 15 people would be able to sit comfortably side by side.
They were so far away that even my sharp ears could only barely hear what they were talking about.
In other words, it seemed that the Crown Prince had something to say to me, and it would appear that was the reason for this sudden luncheon.
I would have appreciated it if he had instead been quick about whatever it was that he had to tell me. There was no need for a luncheon, or for anyone else to be involved.
I didn’t want anyone in this country to recognize that I was having a luncheon with His Highness the Crown Prince. While praying to Misorua that there may be but a single witness, the rational side of me lamented that it would be impossible to cover up because everyone in this room except Grseemed to be talking to someone else about today’s events without really thinking too much about it.
Naturally, I couldn’t even allow myself to at least enjoy the meal served by the Crown Prince. Seriously, why did I have to be in this situation?
As for the culprit himself, His Highness the Crown Prince, he had just gracefully finished off the roast plate, looking at me as if he wouldn’t talk to me at all unless I touched the food on my plate.
…This entire situation was making me feel sick to my stomach, but it seemed that I had no choice but to eat.
After having forced myself to stomach the food on my plate, the Crown Prince finally began to talk about the second task of the Shanaku Priestess selection.
“If it’s the same as usual, the second task will also need one of the students to serve as the candidate’s partner, just like an accompanist is needed for the first task.”
“Yes, that seems to be the case.”
According to Elise’s analysis, the number of tasks may be small this year, so it might not be the “same as usual”. Even so, starting from the second task, most Priestess candidates would still need some kind of partner to help them solve the problem they will be presented with.
“You will be the accompanist for the first assignment, but starting from the second assignment onwards, Grays will be taking your place. It has been decided so.
The Crown Prince was grinning broadly.
…I see. It seems that it has also “been decided” that Emilia would be married to Dovadine, right?
“Understood. I will inform the people who are currently collaborating with us regarding this new course of action.”
So it would be somebody else’s problem after all. I thought it was an unexpectedly quick decision.
From the beginning, I had thought that if anyone would be acting as her accompanist, it would be Eric, or Grays, or somebody else. Not me. I wasn’t all too certain that Grays would be the chosen one, but his chances were still pretty high as far as I was concerned.
Acting as a partner on a task wouldn’t necessarily mean that her betrothal would be immediately settled by it.
But political considerations are always involved in these kinds of affairs.
And the rumors around “Emilia’s opposite-sex partner who came to Arxia empty-handed” were inevitably almost solely focused on her eventual marriage. If Grays were to become Emilia’s partner for her second task onwards, everyone would expect Emilia to join the Archduke’s family.
“We will continue to count on you all to act as her escort, but from the second task onwards, I will be sending in personnel from the Archduke’s house to take over most responsibilities. The daughters of the Zastin and Terejia Houses will continue to cooperate with us, but the services of the daughter of the Sherstok House will no longer be necessary. ”
I nodded to Grays’s instructions. If anything, Elise was merely my own adviser, so if Emilia’s education and support were to be handled by the Archduke’s house, she would certainly become an unnecessary resource.
“…I have a question.”
“What?” replied Grays, looking very annoyed. The way he was treating me was making me feel very uncomfortable, even though we were just talking about business.
“You mentioned that this will be taking effect starting from the second task. But I was wondering when would be the best time to notify you in case any problem should arise at the time.”
“You are to do as you are told.”
The next-in-line Archduke, who was also sitting across from me, smiled.absentmindedly. Why did everyone have to be so rude about this?
“But I haven’t been told to do anything, which is why I’m asking.”
I turned my body, which was facing halfway between the Crown Prince and Grays, so that I would only be facing Grays.
There was no way they would think that I had a spirit of rebellion against the court and the royal family.
I didn’t mind revealing my personal disgust, but I would have rathered them refraining from bringing it into political judgment. This place may be an academy, but it’s far from a child’s playground.
I looked back coldly at Grays, who was glaring at me.
“…Your lack of respect for the king’s blood really irritates me.”
Before long, he spit out his opinion, which was oozing with contempt from every word.
Respect. If you think about what you people are saying, what exactly is “respect”?
“Are you still seeking flattery over loyalty and devotion? My, my…”
Grays’s face turned red as he spontaneously started laughing. I sprung to my feet, and the chair I had been sitting on fell over with a thud.
“…I don’t feel so well. Please excuse me.”
“That won’t do. You may not leave until His Highness the Crown Prince finishes saying what he has to say.”
His main message had already been well received and understood. Any details that could be still left to discuss, I could ask about at another time. All I cared about at this moment was getting myself out of this place.
Unusually enough, the Crown Prince did not stand still against Grays’s strange behavior. Having been staring at the candlestick in front of him with a sad expression on his face for some time as if deep in thought, he soon whispered “I’m sorry.”
I wondered who it was for. Was it for me, or for Grays? Then…
“…OK. Shall we be done for today?”
“Understood. Thank you very much for having me here today.”
Before Grays could say anything again to contest the Crown Prince’s leave, I bowed slightly and quickly turned away from the table.
I then walked to where Emilia and the others –who were completely awestruck about what had just happened at the other end of the table– and told them “We’re done here for today. Let’s go.”
I had lost my temper somewhat back there, enough to spit out the words “I don’t feel so well” straight at a high-ranking noble’s face. However, my boiling point is not that high.
Even though I was already embroiled in the hassle that was dealing with Emilia herself, I just didn’t want any more trouble.