The End of the Normal, Everyday Life
“Miss Sophie, I believe this is my first time seeing that lovely barrette, is it a new purchase by any chance?”
“No, it was a gift from His Highness Craig.”
Knowing that it was a gift from Miss Sophie’s fiance, His Highness the Crown Prince, her followers said things like, As expected of His Highness the Crown Prince or, It suits Lady Sophie’s hair wonderfully, in excitement.
In the courtyard of the Royal Academy after classes were over, looking at that scene was me, Amelia, jealous of the people around her.
Aahh, that’s so nice.
There is nothing more enviable than being able to have a good conversation with the admirable Miss Sophie.
But, even if I had the chance, I wasn’t in a position that I could just willfully call out to her.
Among her followers, I’m the one with the lowest status, and above all else, I decided to not stand out.
If the mediocre me stands out then, I know firsthand what’s going to happen.
…Aah, no, I can’t. I have to be satisfied just being near the respectable and admirable Miss Sophie.
Just a simple devotee like me should definitely not take the initiative to talk to her.
Getting in her way is strictly prohibited! I thought, knowing I shouldn’t forget that.
“Miss Amelia? Miss Amelia! Are you listening?”
I was surprised when the lady that sat in front of me called.
“…Yes. I was listening. It was about the aforementioned barrette that was given by His Highness the Crown Prince, correct?”
I knew that I was spacing out, but I was definitely listening.
The lady who was talking to me just a second ago looked at me with a half-amazed expression.
“Truly, a lady like you… always taciturn, and never voiced your own opinion. Do you find no pleasure in the act of talking?”
“She can’t help it. Her presence is so weak that it makes you wonder if she’s even there in the first place.”
“Moreover, that appearance of hers.”
I returned a forced smile to the ladies who smiled at me in laughter.
“It doesn’t matter how she looks, no? Miss Amelia, would you like more tea? Please do eat some tea cakes as well, okay?”
Glancing at the young ladies who were smiling, making fun of me, Miss Sophie, the daughter of Marquis Barnett and the hostess of this event, called out to me.
All of Miss Sophie’s followers who were warned all together had embarrassed looks on their faces.
I thanked Miss Sophie who called out to me in worry while I accepted the tea I was offered.
But even I knew what those people were talking about.
After all, my appearance was said to be common that ten out of ten people would unanimously agree of how plain I am.
What’s more, I could only agree to what everyone was saying in order to not stand out after what happened in the past.
“Now, Miss Sophie, she is only a daughter of Count Reston, a middle class aristocrat. It wouldn’t cause a problem even if you don’t worry over someone like her.”
“It doesn’t matter whether she’s from a middle class family or an upper class family. Isn’t she my friend? If so, isn’t it natural that I want her to have fun?”
I was deeply moved by the fair words of Miss Sophie, the daughter of Marquis Barnett, who has the second highest authority in the Kingdom of Lennard next to the royal family.
I’ve always been saved by Miss Sophie’s attitude, receiving such impartiality regardless of status.
It isn’t any different from what happened about five years ago.
Because I’ve been saved by her attitude, no matter how low I’ve fallen.
But it seemed that everyone else wasn’t convinced by Miss Sophie’s words, sulking over them.
Well, it can’t be helped that everyone thinks like that.
After all, my house is unlike theirs, even though it’s a Count family– in the end, it’s only middle-class. My house is not poor, but one couldn’t call it rich either.
And to repeat myself once more, I don’t have bright colored hair, but dark brown hair and eyes that’s often seen in this country. It’s no wonder that people say that I’m plain.
But well, I don’t hate this plain face of mine. Although I have moderately round eyes just like my father, and a nose bridge of moderate height like my mother, when I think of it as something I got from the both of them, I can’t help but love it instead.
Every time I look in the mirror, I’m glad to see what I inherited from my respected parents.
Sure, I may be plain, but I’m loved by my parents, by the servants in our house, and the people from our territory also adored me, so I think I’m living a very fulfilling life.
That’s why I’m fine with things the way they are. I don’t want a flashy life. I just want to read my beloved love stories and live a normal life.
I know and have experienced ten years ago firsthand of what would happen when someone plain stood out.
When I smiled without saying anything, one of her lady followers opened her mouth and said,
“…I’m sure she’s enjoying it very much. She’s together with the fiance of His Highness the Crown Prince, Miss Sophie, after all. That, in itself, will make her feel like she’s on cloud nine.”
“Yes, that’s right. A quiet person like Miss Amelia usually doesn’t try to outwardly express her feelings very much. I’m sure in her heart she’s enjoying it.”
I revealed a dry smile at the follower that said I was quiet.
Miss Sophie looked at me with a doubtful look.
“Is that so? Miss Amelia, are you truly enjoying this party?”
I returned a reserved smile to Miss Sophie who spoke to me kindly.
To treat someone with a lower position like me with care, Miss Sophie is a nice person indeed.
She hasn’t changed at all ever since she saw me attending a tea party alone with no friends five years ago– when she talked to the lonely me, and invited me, Would you like to talk with us?
In the past, I mistakenly saw myself as a beautiful girl and aimed to become a perfect lady to be proud of. That’s why seeing the obviously few domineering people, I became extremely self-conscious instead.
Though because of that, I considered becoming a quiet, unassuming person like how I am right now by magnificently smashing down my pride.
But Miss Sophie talked to me who was hurt, gave me a chance to recover,
and in addition, indirectly included me with everyone else.
While spending time with her, I realized that she was the perfect lady that I wanted to become when I was a child.
A dignified appearance, beautiful conduct, refined manner, and overflowing with self-confidence. Kindhearted, diligent, and prudent– she really is amazing. I could only be moved, seeing Miss Sophie like that from up close. Oh how lucky I am.
It was inevitable to admire someone like her.
Therefore, after the tea party five years ago, I always stayed by Miss Sophie’s side as one of her followers.
I didn’t want to stand out so all I did was quietly watch over her, but now, I’ve become a devotee of such a splendid lady.
So, as a follower, I listened to everyone’s conversation while looking at Miss Sophie.
As her ash blonde hair swayed in the wind, she narrowed her long, large eyes and happily talked to her other followers.
The topic was someone who was His Highness, Crown Prince Craig, Miss Sophie’s fiancee who was a year above her in school.
Oh my, he took first place in the tests, or he made such a pretty picture as he read a book — they talked about him like this.
I was not interested in the Crown Prince at all so naturally, I smiled without saying anything, and listened to the conversation, but…
“Nevertheless… Miss Rozetta is a problem, no? Didn’t she talk with His Highness again today?”
Everyone’s complexion changed at the follower who let out a sigh.
Somehow, the atmosphere turned heavy.
But it’s no wonder that everyone felt like that.
And that was because every female student in the academy was worried about the aforementioned girl, Rozetta Bailey.
She is the daughter of Baron Bailey who entered the Royal Academy this year.
She had become a popular figure among male students because of her sweet appearance, and her simple and kind-hearted personality that’s unique to the countryside.
But the followers’ complaints was not because she was popular.
But because surprisingly, His Highness the Crown Prince and her had gotten close.
The turning point was one day, he started talking to Miss Rozetta, and then more and more people witnessed them together.
And the ones who weren’t amused were Miss Sophie’s followers and the female students.
Her house was originally that of a merchant, and currently their business is in trouble. In other words, because she was a daughter of a baron who had money problems, people were raising their eyebrows, thinking that her aim was money.
Once, another student tried to warn her to not get too close to His Highness, but when considering that the two of them were still talking even until now, it’s obvious that she didn’t listen at all.
“It is an act of trampling on the kindness of those who only tried to warn her. Moreover, to act so intimately in front of everybody.”
“Her rudeness knows no bounds.”
“Miss Sophie, are you sure you’re just going to let things stay this way?”
After being told by the young ladies, Miss Sophie who had kept quiet slowly put her cup on the saucer.
“I don’t think it’s okay. But in the case they are just friends, His Highness Craig would be angry, wouldn’t he? Even though I’m his fiance, I’m not his queen, so I can’t speak to him about whom he should associate himself with.”
“What do you mean by such timid words?”
“They don’t seem like friends to us. On top of not heeding people’s warnings, it will be far too late unless you use force such as harrassing, you know?”
“Also the Crown Prince has never had a close relationship with any woman before. If you refuse to deal with this, Miss Rozetta will take away the Crown Prince!”
Miss Sophie did not change her expression at all to the impatient words of the young ladies.
Confidence shone through, as if to say that no matter what happens, her position as His Highness the Crown Prince’s fiancee wouldn’t be shaken.
“That person lacks awareness as the daughter of a poor baron.”
“Surely, it must be for money. Isn’t she always with a different man?”
“How loose. She brings shame to our academy. Rumor has it that she likes to replace men one after another. To be deceived by such an ill-natured woman…!”
The ladies were complaining about Miss Rozetta, saying how shameless she was, or that she was the embarrassment of the school.
Somehow, even though it is true that she’s close to Miss Sophie’s fiance, it still doesn’t feel good hearing people badmouth others.
Because I know how it feels to be spoken ill of.
When I looked at Miss Sophie, wondering how to deal with this, she gazed expressionlessly at the ladies who spoke badly of Miss Rozetta.
“That is enough.”
Hearing Miss Sophie’s cold voice, the ladies shut their mouths all at once.
“It is foolish to say bad things about her just because she is close to His Highness Craig. You don’t know much about Miss Rozetta, and yet you speak ill of her… In the first place, the academy is a place to study of the ways of a lady. Does a lady look for other people’s mistakes and speak ill of them?”
The ladies huddled under her sharp gaze.
As expected of the diligent, sincere and prudent Miss Sophie. She subdued this place in an instant.
When I tried to look around to check on everyone with just my eyes, they were either looking down or looking elsewhere without saying anything.
Miss Sophie, who looked around like me, sighed softly when she checked the situation.
“It seems that the mood has turned awkward because of me. I’m sorry… Let’s finish here today. I have somewhere to visit, so all of you should go home first. I shall see you all tomorrow, and bid you farewell.”
Miss Sophie stood up quickly, and walked to the school building without looking back.
The remaining ladies awkwardly looked at each other.
“Miss Sophie did say that, but in her heart, she must hate Miss Rozetta.”
“Yes, it must be. Even Miss Sophie shouldn’t be able to overlook the relationship between them. And if their engagement gets broken off, we’ll be involved as well.”
“Indeed. As a friend of the Crown Princess, I thought I could marry a good man, but as it is, it shall all go to waste.”
That’s true, that’s true, the ladies agreed, but I myself couldn’t agree with that.
Everyone, I wonder what you see Miss Sophie as.
She stayed strong without losing her composure as the fiancee of the Crown Prince.
All of you should trust Miss Sophie a little more. There’s no one else as great as her, you know.
As I thought that, I ignored the conversation without agreeing to their opinions.
After saying a few other things, maybe because Miss Sophie who was the center of the conversation had disappeared or because they ran out of things to talk about, the ladies left, little by little.
After a few ladies left, I stood, bid the remaining people farewell and also left.
As I made my way towards a different direction from the other ladies, I looked around, and confirming that no one else was around, I stretched exaggeratedly.
“Sigh, I’m tired… It was fun being together with Miss Sophie, but everyone else was acting too belligerent. I had to make it look like I was agreeing with them too so I couldn’t carelessly nod along.”
Recalling the previous conversation, I sighed.
I want to live as peacefully as possible, not wanting to nod along to their plans on what to do to Rozetta.
I’d like to say that we should find a more peaceful solution, but in the end, it’s clear that they’ll be proceeding with a concentrated attack instead.
“Now then, what should I do now? If I go to the school gate, I’ll meet the others again and they’ll bring up Miss Rozetta, which is troublesome… I wonder if I can just kill some time in the library until everyone goes home.”
In the library at the academy, there’ll be books that aren’t at my house so I want to compose myself by reading my beloved love stories.
Which settles that then, let’s go to the library.
I then went to the library while walking through a deserted school building.
I knew that the academy’s library was a little ways off, which is why it’s very empty.
It’s after school now, so there shouldn’t be any students around but on the way to the library, I stopped and looked around, hearing several voices.
When I did so, I found a man and woman happily speaking at a place slightly off-way, and watched.
That’s His Highness the Crown Prince and Miss Rozetta!?
It’s true then, and that it wasn’t just a rumor stemming from jealous that they were close enough to talk all by themselves after school in a place with no one else.
Even so, His Highness the Crown Prince was laughing really happily. The corner of his eyes were raised, aren’t they? You can completely understand from just this that he holds favorable feelings for Miss Rozetta.
As Miss Sophie’s fiancee, I wonder what he’s doing.
Does Miss Rosetta not know that His Highness the Crown Prince has a fiancee? No, she should know. There’s no way the female students wouldn’t have told her.
I saw something I shouldn’t have, I quietly hid myself in the shadows because how awkward I felt.
Since it’ll definitely be troublesome if I got found out.
So I thought I had to wait quietly for them to leave, but suddenly, I looked away and found Miss Sophie looking at them, making me gasp.
Tears quietly spilled down Miss Sophie’s face while looking at them.
She simply stared at them without wiping away her tears.
However, her strongly clenched fists were trembling.
With just a glance, I knew she was jealous.
It was a well-known fact that Miss Sophie loves the Crown Prince. It’s only natural to feel jealous when you see the person you like talking happily with another woman.
My heart ached when I imagined how Miss Sophie must feel.
The two people who are absorbed in their own world did not notice us at all, and a light laugh could be heard.
“And then the castle gardener made a beautiful lily bloom.”
“Wow, a lily? You had told me before that there are various flowers in the castle garden– all of them must be colorful and beautiful. I’m envious because our home only has vegetables.”
“Then why don’t you come to the castle once? If it’s the garden, then you can see it.”
“Are you sure you that’s okay? Well, I’ll come with a friend next time.”
“With a friend? No, uhm, I’ll show you around.”
“No, it would be discourteous of me to ask His Highness for guidance. Just listening to your precious stories that I cannot experience made me just as happy like I was in a dream. That’s already more than enough.”
“…You really don’t desire anything. An ordinary lady would demand things like “I want this,” or “I want that.” You’re a strange person. Of course, in a good sense.”
The Crown Prince smiled gently and Rosetta returned his smile.
At first glance, the atmosphere felt like that of innocent lovers, but the situation was completely different.
Oh, no more! Don’t hurt Miss Sophie any more! Just when I hoped to leave this place as soon as possible– maybe because the Crown Prince looked like he had something planned, the two of them left.
I was relieved, and when I looked at Miss Sophie, I stared at the place where she had been staring at the two without moving.
The usual dignified Sophie was not there.
Instead, there was a girl the same age as me who was hurt by knowing the betrayal of her fiance, different from the villainess who goes crazy from jealousy in romance novels.
When I thought about Miss Sophie, I knew that I should just quietly leave this place but wondered what to do instead.
I feel like I couldn’t just leave Miss Sophie. I don’t think I can leave her hurting alone.
I wished deep down, I want to return the heart of the Crown Prince back to Miss Sophie.
This might be just for my self-satisfaction. And Miss Sophie might not want it.
But I couldn’t just ignore Miss Sophie who was crying.
And I wanted to pay her back for what she did for me five years ago. I could only return a little, but my heart is screaming that if I don’t do it now, I’ll never be able to.
Let’s ignore my rule of banning being a hindrance for now.
Miss Sophie is more important right now than my little rule.
The only time to return the favor for what she did for me five years ago is now!
I took out my handkerchief, came closer to Miss Sophie who had yet to move, and held it out in front of her.
“Please use this.”
She looked at me in surprise, tear tracks left on her face from crying.
Having guessed that I had seen what just happened when I offered my handkerchief, she took the handkerchief, looking embarrassed, and dabbed it on her eyes.
“…Thank you, Miss Amelia.”
“It’s no matter.”
When Miss Sophie let out a small smile after, seeing me turn stiff at not knowing what to do, she turned her gaze towards the garden.
“…Could we talk for a little while?”
Saying so, Miss Sophie moved to a nearby bench, and as she called for me, I sat down next to her.