Chapter 20 – I celebrated my birthday
The days passed by really fast, and ever since I recalled my memories during spring when I was eight years old, seven years have passed before I even noticed.
I’ll be fifteen soon.
In this world, fifteen is the age at which noble children are required to make their social debut –
Also – it’s the age at which people with magic power are required to enroll in magic school.
This summer, I’ll turn fifteen, and I’ll be entering magic school in spring of next year.
By the way, in magic school, no matter your social status, everyone was required to live in the dorms.
As expected, those of higher social statuses seem to get better rooms, but it’s even okay to bring servants with you…… Anyways, it won’t be as free of a life as I have now.
And, when I enter magic school – the otome game that I’ve been afraid of will begin.
The story begins when the commoner heroine enters magic school with the extremely rare ability to use light magic despite not even being a noble.
At school, the heroine will meet and be able to fall in love with various high-spec capture targets, all handsome boys, such as the twin princes, the duke’s adopted son, and the prime minister’s son.
And so, the villainess Katarina Claes obstructed her, walking the path of destruction.
In the seven years since I’ve regained my memory, I’ve made various efforts to avoid my destruction ends.
I’ve practiced swordsmanship, and trained in magic, I pulled Keith out of his room so that he wouldn’t be lonely, and I had the head gardener Tom-san help me create an elaborate toy snake.
Because of all that, my sword swings have been praised, my stepbrother was no longer a shut-in, and I have a toy snake that looks perfectly like the real thing.
However, there was something that didn’t go well. ……I’m talking about strengthening my magic.
My magic was originally the shabbiest magic of them all, earth magic, and the only spell I could cast was “Earth Thud” which could only move some earth two or three centimeters at first…… After training for a year, I was able to improve it all the way to fifteen centimeters, and I had thought that I’d be able to use much grander magic soon, but……
After that, no matter how much more I trained, I couldn’t move the earth any more than that, and I couldn’t even use any other magic spells.
At first, I didn’t want to admit the truth, but…… In the end, I had no choice but to acknowledge it.
It’s extremely unfortunate, but…… I have almost no talent in magic whatsoever.
If I attend magic school, there might be the chance that my magic will “bloom” suddenly, but…… I won’t get my hopes up……
In that case, my original strategy of finding magic-related work if I get exiled out of the country may no longer be useable.
If that happens, what am I supposed to do to support myself……
When I was troubled over thinking things over, I heard from a servant that there were many large farms all over that hired farmers.
That’s it! I’m not like before where all my plants will wilt, and I’ve become pretty good at working in the field now. So if I get exiled to another country, let’s seek out a large farm and work as a farmer. As long as I have a job, I’ll be able to make a living somehow.
While I still trained my magic, just in case I had to become a farmer I started studying agriculture as well.
In this way, my anti-destruction countermeasures will be perfect.
And while I had my perfect countermeasures all planned out, there were also unexpected occurrences in my daily life.
That would be, why all the capture targets and rivals were gathering in my house every day, and why everyone’s relationships and personalities seemed to be different from the game settings.
Let’s start with Jared Stuart. He’s the third prince of the country, and the capture target that’s my fiance. Even though he looks like an orthodox blonde-haired, blue-eyed prince, on the inside he’s actually an evil sadistic prince. If the heroine falls in love with Jared, Katarina will head straight to her destruction.
However, even though Jared in the game was supposed to be “not interested in Katarina at all, and almost never visited her……” Before I noticed, he would come over to my house once every three days.
And, he even helps me harvest the fruits and vegetables from the field, and would always bring me sweets as presents, we’re completely friends now. We have a lot of contact.
Honestly, we get along pretty well…… To the point where I cannot imagine Jared cutting me down with his sword or exiling me from the country, but……
However, if Jared meets the heroine and falls in love for the first time, as his fiancee, I’ll become a hindrance…… “Love changes people” is what’s written as well in the romance novels that I read. I can’t let down my guard.
Also, my scar that caused Jared to get engaged to me in the first place disappeared a few years ago.
And, when I noticed this a few years ago and relievedly told Jared about it……
“Prince Jared, the scar on my forehead has disappeared. That means that you won’t have to take responsibility for me anymore, and can cancel the engagement.”
When I happily told him this, Jared seemed a little shocked for a while…… A little bit later, his usual smile returned.
“Oh, really? Why don’t you show me.”
He approached me with that beautiful smile on his lips, and forcefully parted my bangs to the side. My wounds were supposed to have all disappeared and left my forehead clean, but……
“On the contrary, a few scars remain.”
Jared said so as he stared at my forehead that was supposed to have become pretty again.
“Eh!? But I confirmed it in the mirror many times…… I even showed Anne……”
I muttered in a daze……
“Well, that’s wrong. There’s still some scars remaining. Hey, don’t you think so as well?”
Jared’s last question was directed at my maid Anne who was waiting by my side. Then, even though she had just told me “it’s pretty again and everything’s disappeared. Isn’t that great, ojou-sama?” she nodded her head vigorously and agreed with Jared…… I can’t believe it, that traitor……
And so, even though the scars absolutely should have disappeared, they didn’t disappear for some reason, I was told by Jared firmly that “the engagement absolutely can’t be canceled” as he smiled wonderfully, ending this conversation.
After that, even though she supported my engagement to Jared at first…… Mother was against my engagement now as well, and even Keith said directly “Katarina nee-san isn’t fit to be a prince’s bride,” trying to help me out, but even now I haven’t been able to cancel the engagement.
Indeed, Jared won’t let go of this engagement so easily because just like in the game, he wants to use this to defend against all the other noble girls that would otherwise chase after him.
Thus, I wasn’t able to cut off the destruction flag of being engaged to Jared, and it seems that I’ll have to bring my sword and the toy snake with me to school for self-protection. Also, I’ll have to practice being able to smoothly throw the toy snake from my pocket from now on.
Then, about Keith Claes. He’s the capture target that was adopted into my family seven years ago for his powerful magic, my cute stepbrother. If the heroine falls in love with Keith, Katarina will also head straight towards her destruction.
He’s a handsome boy with flaxen hair and blue eyes, and since he was neglected by his stepmother and stepsister, had a lonely upbringing and became a playboy type character because of it. And when he entered school, his loneliness was supposed to be healed by the heroine and he would fall in love, but……
If that happens, I’ll be very troubled, so in order for him to not be lonely, I’ve been pulling him out of his room every day. During this time, without me having to pull him out anymore it turned out that we were always together. Therefore, Keith shouldn’t have grown up lonely this time. This way, the heroine won’t heal his loneliness and he shouldn’t fall in love with her.
However, there’s one thing I failed at. In order to prevent him from being a trashy playboy, I always told him that he has to “treat girls gently and kindly,” and the result…… He’s become a gentlemanly ladies’ man.
Since he obediently obeyed his sister and treated women gently and kindly just as I told him to, that’s a wonderful thing. However, as the years passed and the lovely Keith matured, he’s somehow become a guy that emits lots of sex appeal just like in the game.
I didn’t notice this happening at all. Maybe it’s because I’m with him every day, I’ve gotten used to it and didn’t feel anything from Keith……
And by the time I realized it, all the noble daughters, and even all the female servants were hanging on to him and the ladies’ man had been completed.
And so, I was able to prevent Keith’s loneliness, but…… As for preventing him from becoming a playboy…… Even with my help he’s already completed this form.
Then, about Alan Stuart. He’s the fourth prince of this country, and is Jared’s younger twin brother as well as a capture target. He’s a beautiful prince with a wild streak, with silver hair and blue eyes, and he’s always being compared to Jared, so he’s constantly in pain from feelings of inferiority, and it should have been set that he hates his brother, but……
Alan didn’t seem to be troubled by an inferiority complex or anything at all now, and it doesn’t seem like he hates Jared either. Well, I wouldn’t say that they are best friends, but their relationship seems reasonably good to me.
Moreover, since in the Alan route Katarina didn’t appear as she wasn’t a rival, in the game I should have had hardly any contact with Alan, but……
For some reason Alan would come to visit me almost every day, and his talent for music has completely bloomed so I’m always receiving invitations to his piano and violin concerts, I would always go together with everyone. We’re completely friends now.
In the first place, Alan shouldn’t have had such a talent already for music in the game. Rather, it was set that the heroine would become aware of his talent for music, and would help it bloom, but……
Well, things were different from the game settings in a lot of ways for some reason.
Then, about Mary Hunt. She’s Alan’s fiancee, and is also the rival character on his route. She’s a beauty with auburn hair and doll-like eyes.
In the game settings, she didn’t think highly of Katarina Claes, and just like Alan, should have had almost no contact with me, but…… She’s already one of my best friends now.
In our first meeting, she was so nervous, but Mary’s completely changed from her always frightened self in these seven years.
She was excellent in her studies, had such a dignified and elegant manner when she made her social debut a little while ago, and her wonderful dancing monopolized the topic of conversation during her debut. She’s become exactly like the noble daughter that she was in the game.
However, in the game, Mary loved Alan from the bottom of her heart…… Mary currently doesn’t seem to be deeply in love with Alan like that right now.
I think they got along normally, but, she never really had anything to say about Alan when we were together, and they hardly ever seemed to meet each other.
Or could it be, they’re just hiding things from me out of embarrassment?
Moreover, in the game, Mary should have become a splendid lady in order to become a lady befitting a prince’s bride, but……
It seems that Mary doesn’t actually care too much about being a prince’s wife. Several years ago, Mary complained to me that she’s “not fit to be someone important like a prince’s wife.” Then, she would always tell me how hard it is to be a part of the royal family and act befitting of a prince’s wife.
During these conversations, when she heard that I didn’t like being engaged to Prince Jared, she became even more melancholy. I mean, if even the perfect Mary thinks such a role is too hard, it’s even less fitting for me.
And so, to assuage my anxieties, Mary would tell me gently “let’s run away together to another country and break off our engagements.” She’s really such a kind and reliable friend.
Then, about Nico Ascarot. He’s the taciturn, expressionless son of the prime minister, and also a capture target. With black hair and eyes, and a perfect doll-like face, he’s a handsome boy with a devilish charm that can even capture men as well as women with his unique atmosphere.
Just like the others, in the game settings Nico wasn’t supposed to have any contact with Katarina Claes at all, but…… After I became friends with his sister by chance, he also started coming over to my house almost every day.
He was taciturn and expressionless like usual, and only spoke up when he had to, but…… His devilish charm seems to be increasing in strength every year.
Nico did laugh at more things than he did before, it’s probably because he’s opening up to us, I think I should be happy, but…… I can’t, that smile’s a trap.
What’s more, it’s rumored that Nico is very popular with women and men alike. Everyone will be seduced by him once he smiles at them. The damage has already spread to the Claes mansion, several maids have already fallen victim to him and lost themselves to him completely.
Even so, for the time being I’ll do my best to defend Keith and Mary from his devilish charm and save them from such a fate.
Then, about Sophia Ascarot. She’s both Nico’s sister, and the rival for the Nico route. She’s a beauty just like her brother, and shouldn’t have had any contact with Katarina either, but…… She’s now my romance novel comrade, and one of my best friends just like Mary.
She shut herself in her room until she was almost ten, reading a great amount of books, so her book recommendations have never missed their marks. She also has great talent in discovering wonderful new works, I even called Sophia my teacher out of reverence.
Sophia always loved Nico from the bottom of her heart, she would often speak of her onii-chan so fondly saying “onii-sama is so wonderful. I’d recommend him as a husband.”
If a person that Nico likes happens to appear, she might just start sulking. I’ll have to comfort my precious friend at that time if it happens!
And so, without understanding why all the capture targets and rivals had somehow become friends with me, we’ll all be attending school together next spring.
My fifteenth birthday has finally arrived. This party has been planned ever since several years ago as my social debut, and it was held at my house.
By the way, this party will be a dance party. I’ll have to greet all the guests, and will even have to dance.
Even though I was supposed to be very good at athletics, unfortunately I didn’t have much of a sense of rhythm, I’m not very good at dancing.
Even so, I trained under mother’s supervision for this birthday party, I had painful dance lessons over and over, it seems that I’ve become adequate enough, but…… There’s still some worry that I might mess up somewhere.
What’s more, during this dance party, it’s been decided that my escort will be Prince Jared for some reason. I had really wanted it to be Keith, but I was told that it can’t be anyone but Jared because he’s my official fiance.
If it’s Keith, even if I step on his foot, he’ll just laugh it off and forgive me, but…… I felt like Jared wouldn’t be the same way.
When I thought so, it only added to my depressed feelings towards this party.
Since the party was scheduled in the evening, I had to apply makeup starting from morning, and had to make sure that my clothes were absolutely perfect, I was already exhausted well before the party in the evening.
However, after everyone put in their efforts a result was seen, when I looked in the mirror I looked like a decent lady. Well, my villainous face still hasn’t changed, but……
And so, while I was dressed up like this, I was escorted to the party by Jared who was wearing full formal attire.
I greeted all the guests for quite a while, then I was led to the dance hall by Jared. Of course, the first dance of the day belonged to me and Jared. I’m going to have to be very careful to not step on his feet…… Time to pay attention to my feet and dance as carefully as if my life depended on it.
“Katarina, you’re very beautiful tonight.”
“Thank you very much.”
When the blonde-haired blue-eyed prince paid me a compliment and smiled, the women around us swooned a little at the sight. Jared’s a complete package, both his appearance and abilities are all superb. That’s why, as his fiancee, I received the jealousy of all other women.
Honestly, if it’s that enviable, I want to give him up and change places with someone, but……
When my dance with Jared finished, Keith was my next partner.
“Nee-san, you’re very beautiful.”
As my gentle stepbrother Keith smiled, just like with Jared, all the women’s eyes were on us. As the heir to Duke Claes, and not having a fiancee yet, he’s being targeted by many women. And so, his social status already attracted an endless amount of women, but his tremendous sex appeal (which unfortunately I was unable to experience) captured even more women.
Come to think of it, even though he’s so popular, I’ve never heard of him having someone he likes…… Even though we’re always together, we’ve never talked about this. If at all possible, I don’t want you to fall in love with the heroine, I really want you to find another wonderful partner instead.
After my dance with Keith finished, next up was Mary, and then it was Alan’s turn.
“You’re better than usual today.”
“……Thank you very much.”
Alan said so rather bluntly to me. I wonder if this is supposed to be a compliment. Anyways, I’ll just say thank you.
Again, just like with Jared and Keith, the women’s glances were focused on us. Right now, this genius boy that’s said to be the poster child for being blessed by the god of music has the support of many of the older women. It seems that they were all saying, “there’s an incredible difference from an ordinary performance.” Although, I don’t really understand it……
Well, since everyone acknowledged Alan’s fiancee Mary as a splendid lady, it seems that all of Alan’s fans are in support of his engagement to Mary. It’s such a large difference from saying people saying behind my back “other than social status, she’s completely unsuited to be with Jared” all the time.
At the end of my dance with Alan, not only the women but even the men focused their lines of sight on the appearance of the devilishly charming earl, Nico. He’s one year older than I am and has already enrolled in magic school, but he’s taking today off just for the purpose of coming to my birthday party. I took his gracefully outstretched hand, and began dancing with him.
“You’re very beautiful.”
“T, thank you very much.”
As he said so, he showed off his magical smile, and there were exclamations all around us. I’ve gotten pretty used to his magical smile over the years, but other people were like “Nico-sama smiled!” and were staggering all over the place. The devilishly charming earl, is such a frightening existence. He’s probably surrounded by people like this even at school.
A while later, after the dance was over Mary and Sophia stopped by, and praised the beauty of my hair and dress lots and lots.
And so, I turned fifteen years old without incident.
Winter is here now, and the countdown before I have to enter school has begun. I’ll be at school for two years, and I’m going to have to prepare the luggage that I want to take to the dorms.
Well, since I am a duke’s daughter after all, it should be the servants doing the packing, but……
I still can’t leave everything up to them. That’s because, if I leave it all up to them, the servants will only put in things like dresses, hair decorations, and jewelry, basically only a bunch of stuff I don’t need, and they won’t put my important romance novels and agriculture books into my luggage for me.
Therefore, I decided to pack my luggage myself.
So, it’s been decided that five servants, led by the maid Anne, will be coming to school with me. Since I can do almost anything by myself, I said that “I won’t be needing servants,” but it seems that won’t be possible because of our duke status. In the end, I took the smallest number of people I was allowed to, and picked five people.
However, there’s someone I’m worried about among these members. My maid Anne, who’s been serving me since I was eight, is now of marriageable age. During these seven years, Anne’s always been taking care of me. By now, she’ll be turning 23 this year. If this was the previous world she’d still be considered young, marriageable age is shorter in this world, it’s said to be too late for people if they’re older than 25.
In the first place, even though Anne is working as a maid here, she’s also the daughter of a baron. I am told that there’s a custom in this world for the daughters of lower-class nobility to serve those of upper-class nobility to learn good manners by apprenticing themselves. And, these apprentices would often serve the daughter of the house. For that reason, there were many maids serving me that were apprenticing like this, but……
They’ve really been brought up as such coddled daughters. They’ll scream in terror if I climb a tree, and while I’m catching snakes they’ll faint at the very sight. Therefore, there weren’t many maids that stayed a long time with me, and we had to send off many maids, and every time mother would strike me down with lightning. Among them, through all the scolding, the presence of Anne remained unchanged, and I really valued her.
A few years ago, Anne’s family brought up the topic of marriage.
A new maid that had just arrived, saw the way I flew from tree to tree and fainted, and quit immediately thereafter, it was because I was worrying about the topic of Anne’s marriage…… If I lose Anne from my life now, I wouldn’t know what to do……
And while I was so worried, I…… When Anne’s father came to pick up Anne, I told him “I really want to have Anne here with me!” and I desperately pleaded with him while lowering my head for his daughter just like a bridegroom would, and Anne’s father’s face became just like ice.
And so, as a result of my desperate pleading, I was somehow successful in preventing Anne from returning home to get married then. Meaning, I crushed the marriage talks involving Anne.
And then, when my mother discovered the commotion, a great thunderstorm immediately struck me, but…… The person in question, Anne herself, forgave me for everything and even laughed.
And so, I’m glad that Anne likes me as well, but I can’t ask her to stay with me anymore, she’s already 23 now and if she stays any longer, I won’t be able to hold back my selfishness anymore.
Thus, me going to school is a good chance for Anne to return home, and I was determined to help her get a good marriage, but……
“If I’m not here, who else would take care of ojou-sama. Of course, I’ll be going to school with you,” is what Anne said to me.
Honestly, the idea of having Anne leave me after she’s been by my side for so long, while I’m at school facing destruction flags was a bit unsettling. Once again, by Anne’s grace, she’ll be coming with me together to school. I’m really grateful, Anne.
“Ojou-sama, what is this?”
Anne pulled out from my packed luggage, my work clothes with a questioning face.
“Ahh, those are my work clothes for the field.”
“The field…… Ojou-sama, it couldn’t be that, you’re planning to work on a field even at school?”
“Of course! I mean, if I slack off from working in a field for two years, my skills will drop, and I wouldn’t be able to become a splendid farmer then!”
When I declared so with all my strength, Anne seemed to have a haggard look.
“……It can’t be, why is it that a duke’s daughter wants to be a farmer……”
“It’s for just in case!”
“What kind of just in case!? ……It can’t be, are you even planning on bringing the hoe?”
“Of course, I’ll be bringing it! After all, I don’t know if the school will have one!”
“……Please give me a break.”
After that, for the next few minutes, I kept trying to put my work clothes and the hoe into my luggage, and Anne kept trying to stop me.
Winter had finally ended, and spring was approaching.