The match hadn’t even started, and yet, aggravatingly, His Highness Endo was smiling triumphantly. I somehow kept my face from turning into a dreadful expression. The way of a lady, afterall, was to face provocation with a sweet smile.
Not that I was actually provoked. Despite how it seemed, I hadn’t actually been carried away by my emotions and blundered the details when I declared I’d participate. This was simply a part of my genius revenge, as such there wasn’t actually anything to regret.
I should hardly have to say this, but as the noble daughter of the Noir House I have never even touched a sword before. That was to be expected. ‘Cause I’m a lady. No one would have ever thought that I would be expected to fight with a sword. Except Mariwa, who was practically clairvoyant, why would anyone ever think I would need to learn swordsmanship?
But, it was probably going to be okay.
I was not only born a genius, but also with the will of Heaven backing me up. That’s why it’s okay, even if it’s a match where I couldn’t see a way to win. Who knows, maybe a miracle will occur and I’ll be able to seize victory. I convinced myself of that. Because I am a genius.
“What are you looking so triumphant about, Your Highness Endo?”
There’s no way I, a genius, would ever lose to this guy. I said it straight out, undaunted. Even if it had no basis – I had to backup my resolute pride.
“There’s no way I would lose to someone like, Your Highness in a sword fight. I’ll have you know that I am a genius!”
“Still bluffing I see, well bring it on. You do have a barbaric personality. It wouldn’t be too strange for you to have gone and learnt swordsmanship somewhere. Is that where your confidence is coming from?”
Accusing me, a perfect lady, of having a barbaric personality, what rubbish. I scoffed at his off the mark assumptions.
“A prince shouldn’t say such a ridiculous thing. Look at my smooth palms. These are the hands of a lady who has never held anything heavier than a teacup.”
“No matter how you look, seeing you with that bad personality claiming to be a lady is too funny…If that were true, there’s no way you could ever think you’d win against me in a fight.”
“Probably a miracle will happen. Your Highness will slip on a banana peel during the match or get struck by lightning and die, something like that will happen. And then I will claim the victory. It has already been decided so by the heavens.”
“Are you an idiot? Relying on something like luck in gambling. I’m the number one favourite child beloved by destiny you know? To compete with a future king like me on the power of luck, I can’t express just how much of an imbecile you are.”
“You claim to have a friend in destiny, but you’re just setting your inferior character in stone. I kind of want to beat up that friend of yours a little bit for making a cocky bastard like you, would you introduce me to them? Since a while ago, I’ve been planning to beat so-called destiny to death, but they’re unfortunately skilled at running away. Is that it? If I hit Your Highness will I finally be able to punch destiny in the face?”
The hostility continued to rise as we exchanged words. Finally, our seething glares met like the clash of swords.
Endo’s blue eyes eloquently seemed to say ‘I hate you’. But that’s fine, let’s just relax. After all, I happened to hate Endo’s guts. I hated him before we even met thanks to my game knowledge, but now that we had met face to face I truly understood.
We would never, ever, get along.
“It’s fine. You just wait right there, Christina Noir! I’ll get permission from the parade ground and bring along a witness. Just tremble in fear until then!”
“Ha! It’s fine if you don’t come back, dimwit! Just get assassinated in the hallway why don’t you, Your Bastard Highness! It’d be for the benefit of this country!”
“Just endure it, stupid woman! I’ll definitely beat the crap out of you when I get back!”
With that he left the room acting so crass you wouldn’t think he was a royal. Going through his head right now, rather than our bet, rather than revenge on Charles, was probably just the desire to rip me apart.
Well, it can’t be helped.
Alone in the room at last I finally let the corners of my mouth lift into a satisfied smile.
I could no longer hold back the laughter leaking out. I’d held it back for so long.
To tell the truth, at the time he said it would be a sword fight, my victory had been assured.
Leading a conversation was my specialty after all. This time I only had to provoke His Dumb Arrogant Highness Endo and things went just as planned. Since a while back I had just been acting during this fight.
That’s right, acting. I wasn’t particularly upset, and I hadn’t lost myself in his provocations either. My actions hadn’t been spurred on by the heat of the moment.
Well now that the nuisance was gone, the servants made every hospitality available to me. As if, after having been unable to treat a guest properly, they were now going above and beyond to make up for it. Tea and sweets were almost immediately provided, as if they had been waiting for this exact moment.
I had to try each and every delicacy they had brought me. There was no way I could be rude after all. I took a sip of the black tea one of the servants had brought it.
The taste and temperature that met my tongue, the full bodied scent that reached my nose, I was a bit taken aback. It was better quality than the tea from home.
There hadn’t been a single good thing since I had arrived at the palace, but this, this was delicious. The reserved attitude of the servants who didn’t even boast was also wonderful. As expected of a palace, even the quality of their servants was admirable.
I considered what would happen from here on out, working to keep a smile of pure joy at how surprisingly delicious everything was off my face.
As His Highness Endo had said, my loss in a physical sword fight was inevitable. However, a lady had other ways of fighting a war. He just hadn’t realised it yet. Which was unsurprising, since he didn’t have a single friend let alone the social skills to know the blunder he was committing. But I was confident that my victory was assured.
Let me put it this way; if this were an official sword duel then I would indeed have already lost. But this wasn’t a rule bound proper match now was it?
His Highness planned to settle this with simple violence. That was, in a sense, an honest victory. Since it’s clear that I am superior in intelligence, to challenge me with the blunt force of violence is an effective tactic. To attack you opponent’s weak point is a simple way to win.
However, in this world, weakness could become someone’s weapon.
Especially in an aristocratic society obsessed with honor, like the one we were in. As a sheltered young master, His Highness who doesn’t know this, has started down his path to ruin all by himself. All I need to do is slowly await His Highness’s ruin.
As I reclined and enjoyed myself, the hallway outside became turbulent.
It seems there’s a visitor. With only a look between us, the perceptive servants sent me a nod of comprehension and begun preparing for more guests. After a little while it seemed my tranquil time had come to an end, so I savored the taste of the tea and the sweets. I couldn’t blame the delicious treats for the sins of their master.
“They are most welcome to enter.”
Permission was required before anyone would be allowed into the room, as was proper courtesy. I had a rough idea of who it would be. With a silent bow the servants opened the door, and in came a gentleman roughly pulling His Highness Endo in behind him.
“Please excuse the discourtesy.”
“Igusa! Bastard, what do y—–ugh gah!?”
His Highness Endo was cut off before he could finish what he was saying. His words were interrupted by his head being pushed down by force.
Ha. How unsightly.
It serves you right to be treated so cruelly I thought. Inside I was gloating with joy, but I kept my face blank.
“It is our first meeting, Lady Christina Noir. I am His highness Endo’s fencing instructor, Viscount Igusa.”
All colour was draining from Igusa’s face.
It doesn’t take much to see right through him. From what I could guess from the state of affairs, Endo had ordered him to be the witness for their duel. His pupil, challenging a woman, even worse the younger daughter of a Duke to a mock duel.
With that he had become pale.
“Viscount Igusa, it seems you are acquainted with who I am, shall we still do the necessary introductions?”
Equipped with the mask of a lady, I warmly smiled at Igusa in welcome. I had some pity for him, but I also blamed him somewhat for the poor education behind Endo’s growing arrogance. As a person in charge of Endo’s education, I would like him to at least take responsibility for this situation.
“No, I have been hearing of the talented and celebrated Lady Christina for a while now. …On this occasion it seems His Highness has lost his mind, I cannot apologise enough. As you can see his highness is reflecting-”
“Oi, Igusa. That brat over there is a rude pig you know. It’s fine for me to beat her up without restraint, you don’t need to worry about anything.”
“Please shut up, Your Highness…!”
Igusa’s face looked like he had swallowed a bug as he forced His Definitely-Not-Repenting Highness’s head down again.
Seeing as Endo couldn’t even read this obvious situation, he must give his instructor a lot of trouble. After checking that Igusa wasn’t looking my way, I sneered at Endo’s disgraceful display.
Why don’t you take a look and see, Endo?
This? This is my victory.