Fake Cinderella – Chapter 02

My Circumstances

When I woke up, it was the morning of the third day.

(Yeah, it’s no use after all…)

Apparently, it really wasn’t a dream.

In these last three days, I’ve learned quite a bit.

For starters, this body… or rather, I am a for-real, literal princess.

Alterie Lutiana Dia Dis Elsvelt-Datier.

Among the Four Grand Dukes of this country, the noblest of nobles, Grand Duke Elsvelt is her father, and with the current king’s younger sister, Princess Efinia, as her mother, she is indeed a most venerable and proper princess.  She just turned 12 years old.

And this was hardly a foreign country; it was a different freaking world.

Another world… a completely different world.

Seriously, it really is.

It had been three days since I woke up here,  but even I was quick to realize that this world was absolutely different from the one in my memories.

If you ask why, the answer is because there’s no electricity.

I mean, sure, there are still places in the world that don’t have electricity.  But judging from the cultural level of this room, the lack of electricity isn’t the exception, but the rule.

I won’t say I know every single country in the world, but I can definitively say this country is nowhere too be found in my old world.

… And naturally, since there’s no electricity, there’s no air conditioning or electric lights.  I mean, the chandelier in this room is lit with oil.  When it gets evening time, people come in with these stupidly long ladders to add oil and set it on fire.

We’re not going to talk about the severity of my culture shock from learning everything was lit with lamps and candles.

Everything just one culture shock after another, to the point that I’m starting to get used to being in a state of shock.

“Milady, it’s time to… oh, you’ve already changed, I see.”

Lilia, the attendant, came in.

Apparently, she’s the one in charge of my entourage, as it were, and the other ladies follow Lilia’s instructions with something close to reverence.

The uniformed themselves in black velvet dresses, cuffs and collar trimmed in white lace matched to white headdresses.   This was what you would call the “maid uniform,” but it was hardly something to compare to paltry cosplay.  To these ladies, these were their right and proper uniforms.

I nodded silently.

“Shall I bring your breakfast here?”

I nodded again.

Lilia murmured her understanding, and withdrew.

I figured it’d be a good idea to keep my mouth shut until I could get a handle on my situation, but the reason I’m keeping it up now is because I don’t know what to do with this rather complicated situation.

Go ahead and say it; it became such a big deal that I lost the timing to say anything at all.

(I honestly can’t believe it’s caused such a ruckus…)

Since I’ve finally gotten an understanding of the circumstances of my situation and surroundings, and I may feel I’ve done them wrong, but… really, I don’t think I had any other choice but to treat silence as my ally.

(… And no matter how you slice it, it looks like I was on the verge of being murdered.)

Just how I was in a car accident in the other world, in this world, Alterie apparently fell off the balcony.

I say “apparently,” because I have no memory of this.

Currently, it’s been decided that I’ve lost my voice and memories due to the shock.

Aside from Lilia, there are several maid-servants that serve me, and I’ve managed to learn several things thanks to their conversations and questions.

(There’s… not a single one that actually thinks this was an accident.)

Although they all refer to my fall from the veranda as an “accident,” no one seems to believe that story at all.

There’s not a single one thinking Alterie fell due to some carelessness.

(That, and just one…)

 There was just one soul who said it, that I was nearly killed.

But even then, I can’t help but agree.  I mean look, even if you say she fell from the balcony, this stronghold of Duke Elsvelt is a castle build on an islet in the middle of a lake.

Alterie fell from a third-floor balcony.  Though, even if you call it the third floor, it’s nothing like three normal floors, but using a normal building example more like twice that… I’d wager around five or six floors, that high of a third floor.  Give a great big plus for the hight of the cliff it sits on, and it’s right up there with free falling off the roof of a ten-story apartment building.

And by the by, at the bottom sits a mid-winter lake.

(Seriously, it’s amazing you survived.)

I couldn’t help but think so when I glanced down from the veranda in my current room… which is thankfully on the first floor.

Normally, there’d be no saving you.

Alterie’s saving grace was her childish body’s lightness and having the devil’s own luck.  It wouldn’t be strange at all to call it a miracle.

Though I admit, since it’s now “me” inside, it’s somewhat debatable whether she was actually saved or not.

(I have yet to meet you, but thanks for the save, third-eldest brother…)

I heard through the rumor mill that this third-eldest brother was out on a boating date on the wintry lake with a young noble lady, and he fished me out of the water immediately.  If he hadn’t been there, then even if I’d survived the fall, I would have drowned, or maybe frozen to death.

The current season in this country is early winter.  Even if it’s early in the season, this area is pretty cold, enough so that the lake is freezing over.

That night, also, a thin sheet of ice had grown over the lake’s surface, but in order to go out boating, they’d broken up a good portion of the ice in advance, which apparently helped it melt throughout the afternoon.

That’s how Alterie managed to get out of this uninjured.

Really, no injuries at all, save a few bruises.

Honestly miraculous.

Monster luck like this is supposed to be saved for winning the lottery or something, dammit.

(I’m not asking for too much here, I just want to live somewhere safe where my life isn’t in danger…)

This may be Alterie’s family home, but it’s hardly a safe haven.

(I mean…)

Former-Alterie current-me was in in a seriously complicated situation, y’see.

In this country, just by hearing someone’s full name you can know exactly who they are and what family you’re dealing with.  

It’s a simple way to make distinctions, you can think of it as, “the longer one’s name is, the higher their social status.”  The common man will only have one name and surname, and no title.

Currently, my full name is Alterie Lutiana Dia Dis Elsvelt-Dartier.

My personal name is Alterie Lutiana.  Alterie Lutiana… over here, it means “light glittering within light.”

It’s taken from the beginning of the Bible written in the old tongue.

Her mother chose it.  That name is the sole connection between myself and the mother that lost her life as if to exchange it for mine in birth.

From there, Dia is a title which denotes the royal family.

“Dia” is given to the King’s children and grandchildren.  Say a prince or princess were to marry — their spouse would not receive the Dia title.  I posses this title because my mother was a princess, and my grandfather was the previous king.

“Dis” refers to the consort, a title employed exclusively by the royal family and the Four Great Archdukes, in reference only to their lawfully wedded spouse.  In other words, our dear Alterie is married.

Alterie’s husband is the eldest son of the current king and crown prince, His Highness, Prince Nadir.

Crown Prince, meaning the position of next king is practically a done deal.  As far as women’s social classes go, as the official consort, I think mine is pretty top-tier.

Still… even if you say “age doesn’t matter in political marriages,” Alterie’s still just twelve years old here.  I mean, a married woman at twelve?  I was 33 and and eternally single, damn it!

Well, setting aside personal grudges, Alterie got married at just seven months of age, so it’s kind of a moot point… there’s not thing one I can do about it.  I think we’re way past arguing the right or wrong of it at this point.

Last is the surname.  Women link their maiden name with their married name, so mine becomes Elsvelt-Dartier.

Unmarried women combine their mother’s and father’s family names.  In my case, the order is reversed but the combination is the same.

Elsvelt is my father’s surname.

Alterie’s father is the current Archduke Elsvelt, Leonhart Sisley Weil Dia Adinia-Elsvelt.

The Ducal House of Elsvelt is one of the most prominent noble families of the Dardinia Kingdom, a highly-praised military family, and still at least one person from the family will will always enter the church and become a high-ranking member of the clergy.

There are also many excelling in academics who leave the family, and gain renown as scholars.

The current archduke is in charge of the military as the Field Marshal, and his cousin has gained prominence in the church as archbishop.  Even more relatives are scattered through the upper echelons of the palace’s government.  In other words, our family is possessed of a grand lot of political clout.

That’s exactly how it was possible to marry into the royal family.

My mother’s maiden name was Dartier.  That’s the surname of Dardinia Kingdom’s royal family.

My… Alterie’s mother, the youngest daughter of the previous king who married down, was Efinia Yudielle Dia Dis Dartier.

Since she’s directly descended from royalty, Mother only has one surname.  Direct descendants, such as princes and princesses, don’t connect their names with those of their spouses’ families.  Simply put, no matter where you go, a child of the king is a child of the king.

Efinia was the youngest daughter of the late King Leglass II, and his Queen, Eleanore, and the official consort of Duke Elsvelt.  She passed away immediately after giving birth to Alterie.

I haven’t the slightest clue about what to do when I start thinking about it being me, but Alterie was a right and proper princess, born from a princess and a noble at the head of a very influential family.  And however young, she is still the Crown Princess.

Now, what makes this so damn complicated is that, while I’m the honest-to-God Crown Princess, I am also the sole legitimate successor to the Dukedom.

As I understand it, that right there is more than enough reason to paint a target on my back.

(Not that there’s a thing I can do about it…)

Crown Princess and sole heir to the dukedom both… if this were a story, this setting would be hella over the top, I have to say.

(… ah…)

A noise caught my ear.

(So it’s already that time, is it…)

A clickety-clack filtered in from the hallway.

It’s a noise I’ve heard several times now… it’s the sound of the cart that comes a-hauling breakfast.

Yaaaas, it’s breakfast! I thought, and my stomach let out a tiny growl.

Even in times like this, your stomach will still get hungry like it’s supposed to.

(Well, for now let’s think after we eat…)

I put my problems aside.  … It’s definitely not that I was running away from them, nope.

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