A person can only take so much.
I didn’t regret what I said – not even a little. Even though my words were stupid, impulsive and rash.
Even though Mariwa was constantly scolding me about my language, sometimes it was necessary to swear. Lese Majeste? Like I care. Unlike my first meeting with Charles, when I had insulted a royal by accident, this time it was because I wanted to insult this punk. Still, it wasn’t like I wanted to ruin my reputation.
But I didn’t need to worry about that. I was actually thankful that he had cleared out the servants, since now there were only us two in this room. There was no one around to hear what we said. So now no matter how I behaved in this room, it wouldn’t affect my reputation.
Knowing that, there was no need for me to hold back anymore. As I smiled at the scowling face opposite me, I knew that all I had to do was shut him up and my reputation would be unscarred. Since I’m such a genius, this would be simple.
“….the hell did you just say?”
Perhaps it was his first time ever being insulted. Perhaps he thought the low voice he responded with was meant to be intimidating in this silence. If that’s the case I couldn’t help but laugh. He couldn’t even hold a candle to the devil-god Mariwa.
I threw my head back with laughter at his annoyed face.
“If you didn’t hear, would you like me to say it again?”
Having fended off the angry little prince’s attack, I haughtily crossed my legs and rested my chin atop my hand. I honestly, from the bottom of my heart, despised His Highness Endo.
“What’s so bad about me saying bastard? Aah, is it that Your Highness’s ears are so noble they can’t hear such vulgar words? What a wonderful skill, I’m envious. Seeing as you can’t hear it, I guess I can just freely call you ‘Your Bastard Highness’. Since you can’t hear it there’s no need for me to gloss over my words.”
“So that’s your true nature. Just like Charles, it seems like you don’t even have an ounce of dignity. I’m ashamed that I even thought for an instant that you were an equal.”
“Why thank you. I am so happy to hear that I am not to your liking.” I laughed without a trace of sarcasm.
It seems Endo wasn’t pleased by my first form. Thank goodness. On the off chance that he did actually like me, I might have skipped second and gone straight into my third form.
“Well, I don’t really care about your character. I’ll try asking again – just in case. Do you really have no interest in being the fiance of someone as great as myself?”
“Obviously. My fiance is Charles.”
If he really broke up my engagement and forced me to marry him, I would bite off my own tongue for a swift death.
“First of all, don’t you know that I am the only daughter of the Noir house? If I married into the royal family who knows what would happen to the Duchy. That is, unless Your Highness intends to marry into the Noir Duchy instead?”
I would prevent any chance of me marrying this toad with my all, but I still wanted to get away from the topic. Not only was I the only daughter of the Noir duchy, I was the only legitimate blood left. With that it would be inconceivable that I would leave my house and come here.
Of course, I should have guessed that this bastard could not even think that far.
“Don’t you have a little sister? Even if she’s adopted, it seems she was well breed enough. After all she did stand in for you when you ran away from Charles. Why don’t you just leave everything to her? Your house, your fiance, your noble title, hmm?”
To think he had even investigated as far as Michelie, no wonder he was so good at getting on my nerves.
More than anything, the conversation with my father the other day was playing through my mind.
“Perhaps, it was Your Highness who spread those rumors?”
“While it’s true that I called you here because of those rumors, there’s no way I would get involved in such vulgar things.”
I thought it fit well with his crappy personality, but it seems I was mistaken. If I really thought about it there’s no way this socially oblivious idiot could manipulate others like that.
In response to Endo’s words, a possibility I hadn’t yet considered came to mind.
To place Michelie in my role. That was how they planned to use the rumors about Michelie. Usually an adopted child cannot inherit a royal house or duchy, but since Michelie is of royal blood it would be different. If my reputation hit rock bottom, then Destiny Labyrinth was proof that Michelie could take over my place in nobility. Taking into account that possibility, then it’s just as malicious as my father said.
Well for now I would have to wait to talk to father about that, first I had to deal with His Highness here.
“Well, if you were to mention those rumors. It would be high society saying how wonderful you are. Even though you always hide your faults, now that I’ve seen your true personality what are you going to do? The gossip loving nobles will eat your alive.”
Wow. We’ve come to threats now have we?
Even if he tacked it on the end, it was still a poor move.
“The one who cleared out the room for our private talk was Your Highness though? You’re going to spread our confidential talk? I see, I see. Isn’t His Highness Endo just amazing. Such unexpected barbarity, even I’m shocked. This is just what it means to have no shame!”
“….To think you’d still bite back until the end, you’re a fearless woman alright.”
“Fearless? Don’t be stupid. Do you know what fear is to me?”
That woman is the scariest thing in the world.
“It is just that I do not fear Your Highness at all. Honestly, Charles is more frightening than you. Though Charles has many cute points, he has been able to unconsciously drive me into a corner. Your Highness is just useless.”
“Ha? To be so unafraid of me. To even compare me to Charles…that’s proof you’re too stupid to see your own position. In this country who has the fate to stand above me?”
“Your Highness. Every word you say, do you know how it seems? Even the silent statues in the hall seem smart by comparison. So why don’t you just follow their example and shut up.”
“Isn’t the one who should shut up you? Only your mouth functions well. You’re a brazen woman to the core.”
Suddenly Endo stood up and approached me. I had no idea what he planned to do as he stretched out his hand towards me.
Should I, or should I not, knock him down? My hesitation at physically resisting a so-called royal was a mistake.
His hand seized my chin and held it up so I was forced to look up at him.
“Well, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve come to understand you and Charles’ relationship.”
I could only grimace as Endo smiled at some future fantasy he was imagining.
“If I took you away from Charles, I’m sure he’d be quite resentful.”
“Eh? Don’t touch me scum.”
This time, without hesitation I slapped his hand away.
He was already starting to rot from the inside. His Charles complex soaked through his every word. What lay under all his annoyance at Charles was the contradiction that he actually longed for that same freedom.
They were both royalty, yet while he was trapped and oppressed, his younger brother lived without those same restraints.
Even though I knew from the game that the cause of his complex was thereabouts, I wasn’t welling up with emotion. Rather, Michelie is truly an angel to have been able to put up with this bug. She’s too big hearted. My little sister is the best after all.
Knowing that Michelie existed kept my heart steady. If I don’t keep it steady I might just punch His Highness. That would be quite bad. What would be bad? Leaving a mark on his face would be evidence. And that would be very bad.
“Aren’t you stubborn. But I’m not one to let up an opportunity to teach Charles a lesson or two. As such, Christina Noir. Won’t you have a match with me?”
At the mention of a match my competitiveness twitched to life..
“Since we’re calling this a match, what will the wager be?”
“Aah, that’s right. If you win I’ll overlook your insolent speech. However, if you lose you’ll be my queen. You will personally appeal to the King and your father to break your engagement with Charles.”
I let out a surprised chuckle. Even if the Crown Prince wishes it, in reality it wasn’t going to happen that easily. Breaking off the engagement just because I ask for it, who knows if that would even work. Even if it does, to then become engaged to the Crown Prince instead would be difficult. Let’s say he did win, because he cleared out any witnesses who knew if he would even honor our bet.
Still, it’s unlikely he would throw away his pride in disgrace just to start a minor rumor about me.That thinking was my extra insurance, just in case.
That said, just now, Endo didn’t add a time limit.
So if I win this contest, His Highness will not only forgive all the impolite things I’ve said so far, but that I can be as rude as I want to him for the rest of our lives. He has basically promised that in the future no matter what gossip I spread or how I abuse him, even to his face he will have to overlook and forgive it.
Wonderful. Truly wonderful. It’s the perfect offer to me. It’s unclear if he even realises the lack of a deadline, but surely a royal would never go back on a promise they voluntarily made.
And if I lose? Ha. There’s no need for me to worry about such a thing.
“Okay then, Your Highness. Let’s begin this game.”
After all, it’s impossible for I, Christina Noir, to suffer an embarrassing defeat here.