I’m still stunned by Charles’s sudden appearance. Michelie is the first to revert to normal.
Her gaze follows Charles as he enters, and she seems to be mumbling uncontrollably.
“……Why is Charles here?”
“Too bad you couldn’t stop him.”
Surfania retorts against Michelie.
“Why, you say? In case you haven’t noticed, I really hate your guts.”
Michelie snaps her head up, and Surfania mocks her abusively.
“Just about the time you parted ways with Prince Charles over such a ridiculous reason, I’ve been working together with him. He told me just how much you hated his plans.”
Come to think of it, I saw Surfania’s writing in Charles’s book when I took a glance at it.
Michelie becomes silent and approaches Catalina, dragging her into the corner of the room. I can hear them whispering something like “The debt for sheltering you–” and “No, I’m certain I stopped him–” but I don’t know what exactly they’re saying.
In fact, my brain is still frozen from Charles showing up. I was caught completely by surprise.
Surfania pushes my back.
“Come on, hurry up.”
I take a couple of steps forward while staggering.
Even though I’m a genius, there are only three people I can’t beat.
The first is the scary but absolutely trustworthy Mariwa.
The second is my beloved sister Michelie.
And the last is none other than Charles.
“It’s been a… short while, Chris.”
Charles is smiling happily in front of me.
It hasn’t even been a month since Charles declared the fact that his feelings haven’t changed. So it really hasn’t been that long.
“I didn’t hear your speech, but I know roughly what it is you’re trying to do. The first thing is overthrowing Duke Noir, right?”
“Y-yeah. That’s right.”
It’s imperative that we take Father down in order to avoid having Michelie sent to a convent.
But we don’t have a good reason or cause to stand against Father. It’s not limited to political strife. People won’t rally without a just cause. Without that, it wouldn’t matter despite all the charisma I possess.
“I don’t care what happens to Michelie, but I’ll help you for your sake.”
He’s brutally honest.
He hasn’t changed in that aspect.
But he’s really matured in many ways. Even though he just barged in halfway, he knows what I want and takes the initiative in saying it. And he probably intends to help me either way.
“I have a solution for that.”
Charles announces his plan with a smile.
“Marry me, Chris.”
For a moment, I couldn’t understand what he was saying.
It seemed to have nothing to do with the problem, and I didn’t understand what he meant.
But as I came to an understanding, my cheeks flushed red.
“Scheming prince, I’ll kill–”
“M-Michelie, what are you doing?! And what did you just say?! You’re in the presence of royalty, you know?!”
“Let go of me, Freesia. I have to destroy this scheming prince right here and now! It’s my duty as a younger sister, and I’ll do it!”
“What are you saying?!”
Freesia is restraining Michelie.
My sister is usually reasonable and wise, but now it’s taking Freesia, who has the least amount of common sense, to hold her back. The corner of the room is getting rowdy, but Charles completely ignores it and continues speaking.
“The first thing that’s obstructing your plan is its validity itself.”
He’s absolutely right.
I just insulted Father horribly, but in reality, the general opinion of him within high society isn’t that bad at all. He’s firmly established himself as the reliable master of the Noir house. It will be difficult to get through that and drag him down from his seat as master of the house.
Before that can happen, I have to obtain sufficient authority to tarnish his reputation. Charles is already providing that means through his plan.
“If you marry me, you will earn the title of Duchess. In the first place, our marriage was arranged so that I could inherit the title of Duke Noir.”
“We don’t need that! As long as I announce my own background–”
“Huh? What are you saying? Are you an idiot? Oh, sorry. You already are one.”
Charles insults Michelie with a broad smile.
“Tell me how announcing your stupid background will help. I don’t really get it, so would you mind explaining?”
“Of course it’ll help! My mother was a member of royalty!”
“Heh?! Is that true?!”
Freesia seems surprised, but everyone else seems to know already.
Charles doesn’t back off even after hearing Michelie’s explanation.
“Hmm? So? I’m a member of royalty too, you know? And Michelie, you’re about to be sent to a convent, right? Also you would need my brother Endo’s help for your plan to work, right?”
Even if the crown prince were to lend his assistance…
There’s still going to be a lot of red tape.
“Now that we mentioned him, he isn’t here. Well, it’s better this way.”
“Isn’t he being delayed thanks to a certain someone?”
“Oh, they went there alright……. Yup. The only member of royalty who’s on friendly terms with Lady Chris and knows her in the Academy would be Prince Endo.”
Catalina mumbles in response to Charles.
It seems she’s gotten something wrong. I’m not on friendly terms with the prince. In fact, we’re hostile.
Leaving that aside, I’m still taken aback by Charles’s sudden proposal. For some reason, I find myself trying to look for an excuse to reject his proposal.
“B-but you’re still busy with school, right Charles?”
“That’s right! You gotta wait until I graduate! It’s not too late to marry then!”
Michelie is agreeing with me while grumbling.
I wonder why she seems so desperate. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t want her big sister to be taken away from her. I see. You’re so adorable, my sweet little sister. I’ll pat your head later, so just be quiet for now.
“In that case, I’ll quit.”
Charles maintains his smile even as he said it so casually.
His gentle and serious face is touching my heart.
“After Chris graduates, I’ll quit school. And then, I’ll marry her. That’s easy as pie, as long as it’s for Chris.”
“I’ll never allowch!”
“Shut up for a bit. You there, Chris Number Two, help me stop this evil witch.”
“U-understood! Michelie, you should calm down–”
“Let go of me, Freesia. Catalina, help me! Now is the time to repay me for sheltering you!”
“Well, Lady Rona has captured me, so I can’t.”
“Lady Michelie, it is true that we owe you a debt of gratitude, but I cannot stand idly by while you stand in Lady Chris’s way of happiness.”
“Tch! In that case, make a mess of this place, Freesia! It’s okay, I know you can do it! You can ruin the mood just by saying something! That’s how much destructive power you have in you! I invited you here just in case something like this happened, you know?!”
“–So you didn’t invite me out of your good intentions! That’s what I hate about you, Michelie!”
I’m just a little curious about what’s going on behind me.
But I’m not so heartless to turn away from Charles right now.
Not when he’s proposing to me.
Not when it’s his own free will. He’s proposing not as a fiancé whose engagement was decided by our parents, but as a man who truly loves me.
“I gave Michelie the role of returning you to normal. But I want the role of changing you for the better from this point on. I want to help you, Chris.”
He’s letting me decide whether to accept or not. He’s giving me that chance.
Whether it’s based on my feelings or personal benefit, I have no reason to reject him.
On the contrary, I have many reasons to accept.
Realizing how red my face is, I reach out slowly.
“I-I’m not much good at anything, but please take care of me……?”
“Ahaha, you’re weird, Chris.”
Charles smiles gently in response to my pathetic consent.
“But you’re adorable anyway.”
His praise somehow eases my tension and embarrassment.
I’m fixated on his smile.
And my own face naturally breaks into a smile.
“I really can’t beat you.”
“I’ve been really desperate, you know? ……Because I kept losing to a certain persistent nuisance.”
“Who are you calling a nuis- mmmgh?!”
Sorry, Michelie. I’ll help you really soon, so just wait for a while.
Charles takes my hand and gets on his knees.
Then, he gently kisses the back of my hand.
I’m trying to endure the tickling sensation. He looks up at me, smiling mischievously.
“I’ve been in love with you since the very beginning.”
“I see. I really like you too.”
We ended up laughing together.