The next day, in an office in Castle Ivan.
The girl poured some tea from a pot and gracefully tasted it.
Her dress, a vivid red dress that burned the eyes, fluttered under the sunlight.
Seeing Rosé, who normally wore a white dress of purity, the consul that had received her summons froze still in amazement.
“Is something the matter? Please, feel free to have a seat”
Showing a composed smile, completely unlike the day before, the princess put the teacup to her mouth.
“Well, right …”
As the consul seated himself, he said,
“It’s a surprise to see you in ‘red’ your highness. — perchance, did anything happen?”
“You see, there were lots of things going on as of late, be it in the Isky residence or the cathedral yesterday. I thought I needed to do something to change my luck”
Rosé opened her arms wide, showing off her dress.
“What do you think? Does it suit me?”
“Well, … I personally think that these things are good in moderation, but as for the thought of the people, I think they will give it room of consideration”
In this country, there’s a strong meaning that goes beyond tradition or custom for an unmarried princess to wear white.
It was one way of showing her charisma to the people by being upright and clean.
That kind of political reasoning existed.
“I don’t think the senate will look kindly to it”
“Is that so? Even though I’ve taken a liking to it,” said the princess as she once again sipped from her cup.
“I hope that everyone will find it agreeable soon,” she said with a meaningful smile.
“Right,” replied the consul reluctantly, accepting the princess’ whimsy.
“So, what need do you have of me?” he cut to the topic.
“Very well. I apologize for calling on you again, but this is about yesterday’s matter regarding the fake seal. I wanted to know what sort of measures are being put under way”
The consul showed obvious displeasure.
This again, he thought.
It showed on his face.
“We are investigating who the mastermind behind the seal’s falsification is”
“How long will it take until you come to a conclusion?”
“We are, after all, grasping at clouds, here. Maybe in a half or one year”
“Now, that would be troubling. My name, Rosé, will be dragged through the dirt for a year, I can’t have that, can I”
“Even if you say so”
“It might be necessary to reissue the seal, after all”
The consul let out a small sigh.
“Ara, I don’t think you need to worry. I have a way to raise the funds needed for that, you see”
“Oh? I don’t think that much money to spare exists in the country, though …”
The princess chuckled.
“It will come from your estate”
“If we auctioned your house and your manor, we can at least gather that much money, right?”
Rosé was giddy with happiness, making her hands into fists on her chest.
“I worked hard and calculated it, you know♪” she said with an affected cute pose.
The consul looked at her like she was out of her mind.
“Um, uh, … what are we talking about again?”
“Eh? But we’re talking about money, right? It’ll be all right, you won’t be left out in the cold. You do have an official residence, do you not? It’s not as spacious as your current one, but it does at least have security put into consideration”
“O … kay?”
The princess had planned things on her own like a child ignorant of the world.
Dumbfounded by the surrealness of the situation, the consul said,
“… let’s say that it does for a moment, but even so, even as the princess you can’t take our property without reason, you know”
Actually, as a country under the Rule of Man 1, it was not impossible for the Ivan Royal family if they used overbearing means. But even so, if they did so without reason the other consuls and nobles will protest, and at worst lead to the overthrow of the Royal Family by a revolution.
That was what the consul was saying.
“I know that, that’s why I’m ‘requesting’ it of you. Please give your house to me, Rosé Vosne-Romaneé Gran Cru Ivan,” said the princess like it had nothing to do with her.
The consul looked like he came down with vertigo.
“If I may be so forward, I think you need to learn more about the ways of society, your highness”
“Eh, … you won’t give me?”
“Do I have to spell it out for you?”
“Oh my. I thought I came up with a good idea”
With an irritated sigh, the consul stood up and said,
“If our business is done, then please allow me to take my leave”
“A-ah, that’s unfortunate. I worked so hard and thought about it. — by the way, Lord Consul”
“Might you have any knowing of the ‘bugs’?”
Rosé suddenly brought the topic out.
“The cursed things the traitor Glenn used, right? What about them?”
“I saw them right next to me you know, I was very afraid. You see …”
Rosé produced a dropper for adding spices into her tea.
“They were minuscule monsters you can hide in a tool like this”
She put a drop of its contents inside the pot.
“If you mix them into a drink like this, and give it to someone to drink …”
She poured it into a cup.
“The drinker will be thralled by the creator you know”
She then sipped the fragrant tea.
“If she said ‘die’ they will really die. If she said ‘become a dog’, they’ll become a dog, if she said ‘kill’ they will kill. They could control someone to do what they’re told”
The consul scrunched his eyebrows a little.
Even as just an illustration, seeing Rosé cast the curse and sipping the tea herself made him uncomfortable. Also, why did she bring this up now?
“Glenn is such a horrible man to do such a thing. Seriously, I was scared”
“Weren’t they all eradicated in the Isky house?”
“I would like to believe so, but we can’t have proof of that. We don’t know when someone would try and use something like that again. … hmm, Lord Consul, you have a daughter, don’t you?”
“Yes. She is studying at a girls’ school in Cotail territory”
“I pray that the young lady doesn’t fall victim to the ‘bugs'”
Somehow, the expression just now contained implications.
The consul became more and more uneasy.
He felt an aura that he can’t be careless against from the smiling princess in front of him.
Why did she suddenly start talking about the ‘bugs’?
Why did she suddenly start talking about his daughter?
And also — why was she smiling?
There was a knock on the door.
“Ara … I seem to have a guest. Let’s see her in”
… a familiar voice.
The door opened and there was a young girl standing there.
“It is an honor to accept your invitation for a tea party today, Princess Rosé”
The girl did a courteous bow trained into her in the school for young ladies.
She then raised her eyes.
“Ara … Father!”
Apero, the consul’s dearest one and only daughter.
She seemed surprised to encounter her father ‘by chance’
“Father, please hear this! Princess Rosé invited me to a tea party!!” She happily reported.
“Y … yes, I see. It’s a great honor”
Unable to comprehend the situation, the consul shivered as he replied tentatively.
How, why was his daughter who was supposed to be in a dormitory far away here?
She and the Princess are — … what is the princess trying to do to his daughter?
Princess Rosé was smiling, but she seemed like a monster.
The red dress she was wearing looked like fresh blood or hellfire in his eyes.
N, no no no
*I’m thinking too much … The ‘Holy Maiden’ Princess Rosé, of all people, wouldn’t be capable of such scheming ….
“By the way, Apero-san. Do you know what ‘Wame Kame’ is?”
Eek, the consul made a stiff shriek.
“Wame, Kame …?”
The daughter tilted her head.
“Ara ara, so you don’t know. I happened to hear my manservant say that name out, I don’t know what that is, either. I thought I could ask you about it if you knew …”
“My apologies for not being of use”
Like hell she’d know!! It’s the name of an elite whorehouse!!
‘I have a way to raise the funds needed for that, you see’
‘They could control someone to do what they’re told’
‘I pray that the young lady doesn’t fall victim to the ‘bugs”
When the princess’ words connected, his pulse quickened.
“Incidentally, could it be that I barged in on an important discussion …”
“Not at all, it’s fine. — Our discussion is over after all”
The princess put another drop of spice from the dropper. As she did …
Her smile disappeared for a moment, turning as expressionless as a mask.
“I’m sure your father will conclude this matter within the month”
Otherwise your household belongings will be forfeit
This girl will be the hostage until then. Understood?
If you don’t, I suppose I should make your girl pay for it?
Even without words, the threats reached him like a phantom.
It was a complete change from her airheadedness from just now.
The sharp glint in her eyes made him feel a boundless fear.
Who was this woman in front of his eyes?
Was she really the same princess who was ignorant of politics yesterday?
He had no way of knowing that, but one thing was clear.
She’ll do it. This girl will do it.
The consul was convinced, he stood stock still as if he was glued to the floor.
Moreover, nobody could save the consul from this situation.
The princess who had sprung the fearful trap returned to her bright smile.
“Your father is an excellent consul. He spared no effort to help everyone of the people. — come now, cheer for him”
“Yes! Father, Do your best to fulfill the princess’ expectations!!” said the unknowing daughter with a face full of smile.
Yes, the unknowing daughter, Apero, drank the liquid poured from the teapot without a shred of suspicion.
“Y … yes’m …”
The consul broke out in cold sweat and did a queer smile.
“W, wwwwwell then … I … shall take my leave!!”
He ran off to perform his ‘duties’
“Father looked a little pale …”
Apero saw her father off with a worried look.
“I hear his work is much more laborious than what we women imagine,” said princess Rosé as she summoned a servant to begin the preparations for tea.
“Well. He doesn’t usually look like that. … anyway, Princess Rosé. About that dress …”
Sure enough, she was curious about Rosé’s red dress.
Huhu, chuckled rose.
“I met an amazing man♪”
Princess Rosé said as she let through a look of someone in love that would be obvious to another girl her age.
“Um … would he be, your fiance?”
“Not my fiance, but, Rosé is still a girl after all. — I’m at least allowed to fall in love, don’t you think?”
As befits a girl her age, Apero snapped up at the love story, Rosé spent several whole hours preaching about the wondrousness that is Yuuki, and the two girls talked excitedly.
※ The previous night
The cathedral was aflame.
The fact soon spread throughout the town and caused sudden panic among the citizens.
Looking afar at the burning cathedral, a young girl sat on the roof of an urban house.
Chaser, who had successfully escaped from Arina.
“A-ah. It didn’t go well.
Yes. It was a small failure, I guess”
As usual, she talked to herself as she reflected on her strategic failure.
“I thought I could trick Arina with a fake Yuuki.
It might have been too soon after all. It’s a shame about Rosé, though.
I thought I could decipher the curse Arina placed on Rosé.
If I had that I might even be able to manipulate Arina.
Unfortunate. Yes, unfortunate”
Chaser sent her gaze towards the town. There, among the crowd shocked by the fire, there was a pair of man and woman hugging each other, paying the situation no mind.
They were Yuuki and Mist.
“I caught the smallest fish. I could lure out the bigger fish with her.
… This time, let’s not hurry, take it slow.
I know, me!”
The Dry County Yuuki whispered something to Mist.
Mist’s face was dyed red. SHe nodded and stared up at the empty sky.
Yuuki finally dispersed and vanished, but Mist never noticed and continued to stare at the sky.
“I understand, Yuu-kun’s true feelings. Wait for me, Yuu-kun … I’ll take you to a home for just the two of us …”
- TN: As opposed to Rule of Law ↩