Chapter 13 – I changed the type of match
From now on, Alan would keep coming to say “face me!” and I would always beat him with plenty of room to spare. It became that he would always come over to my place saying “let’s have a match!” and his days of losing continued.
As a result, since he comes over so frequently our relationship isn’t as bad anymore, having become friends, and in between matches we would often have a cup of tea together.
Moreover, recently Alan seems to be lively and quite happy even when he keeps losing. It’s probably just my imagination.
In this way, I was getting along well somehow……
However, that day finally came.
“Jared!? Why are you here!?”
Jared and Alan had coincidentally met each other in the Claes family garden. Since Jared is coming over once every three days, and Alan is coming over once a week, it’s no surprise that they have finally met here. Mary who was coming over more than Alan at the rate of twice a week, had already greeted Jared.
By the way, I had already talked with Jared a little about Alan coming over here to have matches with me. However, I never told Alan about Jared coming over here every three days. I thought he would have known already that I am Jared’s fiancee, but……
Alan looked quite hostile towards Jared, but also seemed to be hesitant on getting the story out of Jared.
Thus, since the brothers never really interacted with each other, they didn’t know each other’s schedules and happened to run into each other by chance at my place today.
“You’re saying such a weird thing. Since this is my fiancee’s family, coming over here isn’t anything strange at all.”
Jared replied with a smile. That’s true, it’s like that, but I think you coming over once every three days is too much…… Or, I wonder, is it common for that to be the norm over here.
“……Anyways, since I came over here to have a match with her today, don’t interfere!”
Alan didn’t have as much spirit as usual. I wonder what happened to his usual self-important aura.
Seeing Alan’s strange condition, the perceptive Jared smiled as if to say he detected Alan trying to act tough.
“About this match, I’ve heard that you haven’t won even once after all these times? Wouldn’t it be better if you just gave up already?”
Jared said so with very cold eyes for some reason. I’m sure that he’s usually indirect with me…… being so direct like that… I timidly looked at Alan to see if he was about to explode with anger –
He didn’t seem to be angry…… Instead, he had a very bitter expression.
“……N, no!! The match isn’t over yet! Even I can do it! Even I can…… Even I can……”
Somehow Alan’s voice became rather pained as he shouted out in desperation.
Man, it seems that Alan can’t see anything other than Jared’s reflection. There was an indescribable atmosphere in the Claes garden.
Aw, awkward…… I feel like I’m half-involved in this as well… This atmosphere is so awkward. Okay, I should change the topic here to clear the air.
And so, in order to dispel the strange atmosphere, I proposed an idea that I had been thinking about recently.
“……Uh, uhh Prince Alan. If it’s alright with you, how about we change the type of match? If we climb the tree too much, mother will surely find out eventually and become angry with me.”
In truth, it was a miracle already that mother had not discovered our tree climbing matches yet, but I was getting a dangerous feeling about it. Also, not only had mother ordered me to stop climbing trees, if it was found out that even the prince was tree climbing, lightning would surely strike me. Whenever Alan visits, since my dependable little brother Keith always accompanies her, it seems that mother is beginning to suspect something is going on. If I don’t change the type of match here, things will get really bad.
“……If it’s something like that…… Then, what do you want to compete in?”
Alan finally looked at me. The awkward atmosphere from earlier faded a little. Thank goodness, thank goodness.
However, for me to have brought up changing the type of match myself……
Honestly, my magic is so shabby, and my academics are only average, so the truth is that there’s not much I can compete in. Or maybe, I should lose to Alan once on purpose so that he will be finally satisfied. But, that would be so frustrating.
As I was saying “Hmm~, hmm~,” while shaking my head, one of Alan’s servants spoke up.
“Um, how about something like a board game, since there’s no risk of injury?”
Indeed, if it’s a board game, there won’t be any risk of injury, and there won’t be any gender difference either…… However, during my previous life, I was bad at things like card games and Othello. While chess is popular here, I’m even worse at it. It’s not that I can’t play it, but to lose would be so frustrating.
Upon seeing my dissatisfied appearance, the servant seems to have realized that this is no good.
“Well then, how about music? The person that gives the better performance is the winner.”
He proposed a new idea. Music instruments, eh…… By the way, since being able to play instruments seems to be related to noble status, I have been taught how to play the piano and violin since I was little. In my previous life I played the recorder and the piano but never did any performances, and currently I only play the piano a little. As for the violin…… Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me.
“I’ll, be fine with the piano.”
I replied energetically and Alan agreed as well.
And so, the match changed from tree climbing, to a piano performance showdown.
It suddenly became a more noble-like match. Even if mother found out about it, lightning wouldn’t strike me.
And next to the relieved me, were Alan’s servants who seemed to be overjoyed that “the tree climbing is finally over, how wonderful.” The servant that proposed the board game and music competition ideas was praised as “well done” by the other servants.
And so, everyone moved into the piano room for the piano showdown with peace of mind.
The Claes family piano is really grand, befitting that of a duke’s. It gave off a much more high-class feeling than the one in the music classroom at school from my previous life. The judges for our performances would be Alan’s servants and my servants, and we also asked Jared to judge us as well. And so it was decided that I would perform first, followed by Alan.
I went to the piano and sat down on the piano chair. In my previous life I could only play the “Flea Waltz,” but now I can also play practice pieces for children. I made several mistakes, but I still think I did pretty well overall. In fact, Jared was shocked, saying “Katarina can play the piano?” Is that a compliment?
And, subsequently, Alan began playing the piano. For the sake of fairness, he was playing the same children’s song as me. And it was supposed to be the same song…… but it rang throughout the room like a completely different tune. Starting from me, everyone in the room held their breath. That was how amazing Alan’s performance was. I was enthralled by the performance. I thought he was just a self-important prince, but I’m very surprised to find out he has such a talent. And then, after his performance ended, the applause that did not occur after my performance filled the room.
“That was amazing. Prince Alan. You’re so amazing.”
I said that by instinct. Honestly, even though I don’t know very much about music, I thought it was great to listen to. However, Alan himself had a stiff face.
“It wasn’t such a big deal.”
“Nothing of the sort. Isn’t it a great talent?”
“……Something of that extent isn’t what I can call talent.”
For some reason, when I praised him, his face became even stiffer. And then –
“As you say Katarina, it was quite amazing.”
Jared praised the performance just like I did.
“……Even though you don’t think that at all.”
Alan practically spat that out. His face had the same terribly bitter expression as before.
“Stop giving me compliments you don’t mean! I’m sure you’re only here to make fun of me that can’t do anything!”
Alan shouted. Then, he ran out of the room almost as if he was being chased by something.
Exactly, what on earth is going on…… When he escapes so agitatedly, it really gives off the impression that something is chasing him.
While giving the stunned servants a contemptuous glance, I chased after Alan like the heroine of a shoujo manga.
It seems to be true that when a person is looking to escape, they will go to a familiar place. Alan was under the tree that we always climbed for our matches. As I approached, Alan raised his head a little, but after seeing that it was me, he lowered it again.
“……Did you also come to laugh at me?”
Alan muttered, but I didn’t understand what he meant at all. What does it mean, he thinks I came to laugh at him. That doesn’t seem like anything pleasant.
“……Surely you came here to laugh at me for being able to play the piano a little.”
“……Saying that you can only play the piano a little…… I don’t think it’s on the level of only being a little. It’s an amazing talent.”
When Alan showed off how well he could play the piano, I thought he would be all self-important like usual, but he’s actually being quite humble. Comparing that to my performance, it would be like ranking down my so-so performance to worthlessness.
“Such flattery. I can’t do anything anyways. Always second to Jared.”
I thought he was a self-important prince, but he’s actually a negative prince instead.
“……But it’s not just flattery…… Prince Alan, why is that you won’t believe in yourself more?”
“Hmm. Ever since I was born, I was always being compared to Jared, and I can’t beat him in anything, no matter what it is. Jared took all the good parts starting from our birth, and I’m only ever left with his leftovers, how am I supposed to have self-confidence?”
Ohh, I get it. Come to think of it, this was also the game setting. Ever since they were born, Alan was always compared with Jared and couldn’t win in anything. No matter how hard he desperately tried, Jared could always beat him with a cool face.
Certainly in such a situation, it wouldn’t be easy to simply tell him to work hard and have self-confidence.
After all, in the game, even the kind and cute Mary couldn’t save him.
But Alan has never been inferior. In the game, his academic grades have always been top class. His brother Jared was just too much of a superman. And, his piano performance just now was really impressive. Alan might just have a talent for music. Indeed, in the game there was even a great scene where Alan played the violin to the heroine. I think he probably has more talent than Jared in music. Therefore –
“……I don’t think it’s a question of being suitable or not.”
“……What do you mean?”
Uh oh. I’ve said it now. Alan is looking at me intently.
“Well, uh…… Prince Jared has things that he is good and bad at, so Prince Alan surely also has things that you are good at, it’s natural that people will be more suited to some things than others.”
I became a bit flustered, but somehow I explained it.
“Being suited or unsuited…… Then, is there anything that Jared’s bad at? I’ve never heard of anything.”
Indeed, it appeared that there was nothing that the genius Jared could not do skillfully. He is very good at swordsmanship, and his head just as good. He should have been like this when he came over to visit me…… He even helped me harvest the field, clearly with more efficiency than me.
There isn’t anything that he can’t do, he shouldn’t have anything that he’s bad at. That’s what I always thought. However……
“Hahahaha. I know what Jared’s weak at!”
I laughed fearlessly.
In fact just recently, I realized what Jared’s not good at. Or maybe it’s better to say discovered.
Even I thought at first that Jared was an absolutely perfect prince with no weaknesses. However, as time passed by, while harvesting the field, I only became aware of it because our meetings turned into something similar to a neighborhood women’s meeting.
“Prince Jared’s weakness, is, well.”
When I saw Alan waiting with bated breath, I smiled wickedly.
It’s a story that happened a few weeks ago. On that day, both Jared and Mary had come over, and I was harvesting the vegetables to share with everyone. Jared offered to help me, and Mary and Keith also took some vegetables. Something passed by my foot, and went towards Mary, while I thought “oh, what a surprise.”
Then, Jared who was close to me had ran off. He was usually so calm and composed, this was my first time seeing such a panicked expression. And then, I realized. Could it possibly be, that this was Jared’s weakness.
While I was smiling wickedly at Alan, I saw Jared coming over to look for us as we had not returned for quite some time. This is a chance. I think this might be his weakness, but let’s try it out since I’m not for certain.
And so, I grabbed the thing in my pocket that had been concealed for several days. I had been waiting for an opportunity to try it out sometime. I had Alan hide behind the tree so he could watch Jared’s reaction.
And then, I threw “that” in front of Jared as he walked towards me.
When “that” suddenly appeared in front of him, Jared let out a loud scream.
And then, his face seemed rather panicked and scared, without any of the usual calm, collected feeling.
“There’s no mistake now.”
I gloated by reflex towards the tree’s shade.
“Oi, I told you if you waited a little here you could see what Jared’s weakness was. And now, exactly what will you do?”
Because Alan had been doubting me, I was rather proud of myself.
“That’s a snake.”
“Although I say that, it’s a fake one. I can’t put a real one in my pocket since it would move around too much.”
“……No, I don’t think it’s a question of putting a snake in your pocket…… So uh, why did you just throw it?”
“That way, I can show you what Prince Jared’s weakness is.”
“His weakness is something like…… snakes!?”
“That’s right. I had my suspicions before, but his reaction just now confirmed it for me. Prince Jared’s weakness is definitely snakes.”
I told him loudly. This was such a great discovery. I finally found a chink in the armor of that perfect prince.
By the way, the fake snake that I threw was something I made out of some crumpled paper. I prepared it to experiment with Jared’s possible weakness. It still doesn’t quite look like the real thing, but the result was quite admirable.
“His weakness is something like snakes…… No, he definitely looked very scared…… I definitely thought such a thing wouldn’t be possible…… But something like a snake…… No, but he had such an amazing panicked look……”
For some reason Alan began talking to himself while I was just jumping up and down in joy next to him. I’ve discovered Jared’s weakness. This is in case of emergency – it will surely come in useful if I reach a destruction end.
While I was jumping with joy, I did not notice the dark presence approaching me from behind.
“Katarina. You seem to be in very high spirits. Whatever could have happened?”
Looking behind me, Jared was standing there with a beautiful smile. He was holding my toy snake firmly in his hands. While he was smiling, his eyes had no laughter to them.
“……Pr, Prince Jared.”
“I was worried about you two since neither of you had returned after quite a while, but what on earth is this, I wonder.”
As he said so, he set the toy snake he was holding down in front of me.
“Eh, uh, that’s……”
Without him even saying any more forceful words, I already panicked. Oh no, I was thinking to try this out light-heartedly, but I’ve angered Jared more than I thought I would. And even though he shouldn’t have seen me do it, he seems to be convinced that it was me. Why is that.
“Katarina became nine years old last month, right?”
“It’s inconceivable that a nine year old daughter of a duke would throw such a toy at her fiance, isn’t it?”
Jared’s smile seems to be getting even darker. ……This is so scary. It couldn’t be, I might be exiled like this for the crime of “throwing a toy snake at the prince…”
“Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Duchess Claes today, what would she happen to be doing?”
“…Ah, she should be having tea with Keith right now.”
Since I was confused by the sudden change of topic, I answered without thinking. Then, Jared began grinning devilishly.
“Is that so, I absolutely must go to greet her. I want to tell her about the tree climbing matches with Alan, and about Katarina throwing a toy at me.”
What!? He’s going to get revenge on me by selling me out to mother for throwing a toy snake at him! He is indeed a sadistic prince, such a terrible guy.
And then, I begged and chased him desperately as the evil sadistic prince made his way towards my mother. However, he only responded with a wide smile and much sarcasm. Ahh, I’ve angered someone that I shouldn’t have. From behind the despairing me, I felt like I heard a voice, and when I stopped chasing Jared and looked back by reflex I saw Alan that I had completely forgotten about – he was laughing so hard that he could barely stand. The way he looked laughing while holding his stomach was actually pretty funny.
This Alan, he’s actually laughing at the misfortune of others…… Well, it’s what I deserved, but still……
But, I didn’t have the spare time to mind Alan right now. I chased desperately after Jared.
However, I had no way to stop the angry Jared.
He told mother about me hiding the tree climbing matches from her, and throwing a toy snake at him…… I received several straight hours of lecturing.
However, this incident was not a total disaster. I also got a big harvest. I found Jared’s weakness! In an emergency, if I’m facing the destruction end where I’ll be cut down by Jared’s sword, I’ll throw a toy snake at him, and take the opportunity to escape while he’s panicking. It’s perfect. After all, I’m quite the strategist. Before I have to attend school, I’ll complete a toy snake that looks much more realistic, and keep it hidden in my pocket at all times!
And in this way I discovered another wonderful method to avoid a destruction flag.
By the way, after that, for some reason Alan didn’t challenge me to any more matches.
However, he would still visit me, even without the matches, for whatever reason…… Moreover, somehow he’s begun speaking normally with Jared as well. Why is that……
While it was something I minded a bit, I don’t have the time to care about that right now! In case I need to defeat Jared one day, I absolutely have to make a much more realistic toy snake.