Observation Record of a Self-proclaimed Villainess' Fiance -
Chapter 14 Bertia (17 Years Old) 
Chapter 14 Bertia (17 Years Old) 
Translated by LynneSuzuran & Senhiro
Someone’s voice could be heard in the distance.
Along with the sensation of getting my consciousness pulled up after being submerged in the profound depths of the sea, I felt relieved because I was able to return from that unpleasant world at last.
My head, which was still faint in some respects as of now, should return to its usual clear state a while after I have woken up.
The little sluggishness isn’t that different from what I usually feel right after waking up in the morning.
My field of vision gradually became brighter, and the sounds and voices from my surroundings became more distinct little by little.
I’m sure that I have made you worried.
I need to apologize as soon as I regain my consciousness, then after resting my body for a little while, I need to get the situation under control and…
“Your Highness!! Please wake up quickly!!”
“There’s no time to rest!! Bertia-sama is…!!”
“Wake up, and please control this situation as soon as possible!! Otherwise…”
“Wake up!! Stop Bertia!!”
……It’s extremely lively, huh.
You guys, don’t you understand that I just lost my consciousness and collapsed?
Show me a little bit of concern or pity…
“I-if you don’t hurry and wake up, Bertia-sama will… your fiancée will have a shaved head!!”
………Wait a second.
Just what kind of situation can lead Bertia to have a shaved head?!
The people around me who jolted my body to wake me up gave shouts of joy once I opened my eyes from their shocking statements.
However, it wasn’t because of their relief that I woke up, I feel like their cheers were more like the cheers that people made when a savior appeared.
“…What’s up with Bertia, again?”
Originally, I wished for a slower awakening after I lost my consciousness from receiving the light spirit’s attack, but I felt like I heard some words that I couldn’t afford to ignore, so there’s no way I can express my wish.
It can’t be helped. I lightly shook my head that hurt from waking up so suddenly and immediately swept my gaze around in order to confirm the situation.
Miss Joanna was kneeling on the bed I had been sleeping in, as she grasped the nape of my neck and jolted me around.
Miss Silica was lightly patting my cheeks with a ghastly pale face.
Zeno was sitting behind the bed as he supported my upper body and slapped my back.
Marquis Noches was trying to splash the water inside the finger bowl at me… wait, whatever the circumstances may be, you can’t be doing that to me, the crown prince, okay, Marquis?
Well, what the other members were trying to do was also felt a bit… inappropriate, though.
You were hitting me on purpose because you knew I was already awake, right?
I also heard quite clearly how you muttered, “For my daily grudge…,” in your low voice, you know?
Do you still hold on to the grudge from the other day because I mistakenly gave your snacks to Bertia?
Next time, when I feel like giving sweets to Bertia, I’ll certainly buy Zeno’s portion as well, so would you quit clicking your tongue?
Ah, naturally, I’ll be scolding you the entire time you’re eating the snacks. Look forward to it, okay?
“Y-Your Highness! Please stop Bertia quickly!!”
When I was sending a silent smile towards Zeno, Marquis Noches at some point had placed the finger bowl back on the table before I even noticed it, and pointed slightly further away, at where the guard knights and my close aide candidates were frantically trying to calm Bertia as they held her down.
“Please let me go!! I have to become a [nun]!! If not, Cecil-sama willlll…!! Scissors! If there are no scissors, then a dagger will do!! If that isn’t available as well, please lend me the sword that you’re wearing at your waaiiiist!!”
As large drops of tears spilled from her eyes, Bertia struggled without caring for her appearance.
It was a frantic form that would cause others looking upon her to be distressed, but… what she said was beyond unsettling.
Just why the heck did things turn this way?
In the first place, what is a [nun]?
“She’s been trying to cut her hair while shouting incomprehensible things such as [I’ll become a [nun], so please save His Highness!!] or [I will have my head shaved at this place!!] from some time ago.”
“Even while moving to this waiting room, she fervently appealed to that woman called Heronia while crying, saying [If you can save Cecil-sama, I will go to the monastery or even anywhere else], [Please, Cecil-sama…]. After we pulled her away from that woman named Heronia and brought her here together with Your Highness and you still hadn’t awakened yet, she madly rambled things like [What should I do?! I will even go to the monastery, okay?!], [I’m even willing to shave my head and enter the priesthood!!]…”
Miss Joanna and Miss Silica hurriedly took their hands away from me and continued to behave as if nothing had happened, as they urged me with uneasy expressions just like some typical bewildered noble ladies.
It’s not like I didn’t think anything of it, but… we’re in a situation where it doesn’t seem to be possible to bring it up now.
“Whoa?! Wai-!! Bertia-sama, please don’t draw out a sword on your own!! It’s dangerous!!”
“Please hand it over to me immediately!! I’m only going to use it to shave my head!! I won’t use it for anything dangerous!!”
“A sword isn’t something that can be used for shaving hair!! But more importantly, please don’t shave it!!”
“If I don’t shave it!! If I don’t receive any downfall, Cecil-sama will definitely not wake up!! Destiny won’t, the heroine won’t allow it!!”
“I’m telling you it’s all right!! His Highness is a person that couldn’t be killed even if you tried!! That’s why, please calm downnnnn!!”
“Your Highness! Please stop being absent-minded and stop her immediately! Otherwise, Bertia’s hair style at the wedding ceremony will become something unspeakable, you know?!”
Noticing that I had woken up, Charles and Nert who were trying to stop Bertia along with the guard knights continued to blurt out rude remarks as they desperately appealed to me.
…I feel like the treatment from the people around me is getting more and more cruel as the years pass by somehow, or is it just my imagination?
In the first place, everyone has been pushing me around too much, don’t you think?
At least, know that I’m just an ordinary human, not an immortal, okay? It’s fine to treat have more sympathy towards me, all right?
Bard stepped in between Bertia and the guard knight, interfering with Bertia’s efforts in trying to snatch the sword from the guard knight.
I’m sure that Kulgan and Shaun who weren’t present here were in the middle of managing things at the party venue somehow.
Because my father’s figure also couldn’t be seen, there’s no doubt that he was also lending them a hand.
Everyone seems to be in trouble, but is it absolutely necessary for me to deal with all that trouble this time?
As for me, it seems interesting to observe them, and I’d like to take a little rest while observing them, though…
Everyone except Bertia noticed that I had regained my consciousness and called my name.
Of course, the message that could be read from those eyes wasn’t ‘concern’ or ‘relief,’ it was a request to rescue them, like ‘Do something about this situation!!’
Those were gazes mixed with the reproach that I should take their shifts immediately now that I’m awake.
I know that you are all desperate, but… I think it’s fine to be a little more worried about me, okay?
Well, it’s fine though, since Bertia cares about me for her part.
“…I understand. It can’t be helped, right?”
I showed a wry smile and slowly lowered my legs from the bed to stand, while checking the sensation of my body.
Well, in such a state, she would surely not notice me even if I tried to call out to her, so I will probably have to approach her to get her attention.
Fortunately, the place that hit the floor when I fell unconscious was only a bit painful, so there weren’t any particular difficulties moving around.
“Tia, calm down. I’m all right.”
“Cecil-sama isss!! I have to hurry and receive my downfall!!”
“No, it’s already impossible, okay?”
“God, [Buddha], Heroine-samaaaaa!! I don’t care what becomes of me, so please somehow save Cecil-sama and this countryyy!!”
“No, nothing will change even if you ask her, okay? Besides, I’m already fine even without their help, right?”
“Aaah, I can hear an auditory hallucination of Cecil-sama’s voice!! Could this be the rumored [Bedside Dream]?!”
“…I don’t understand what you mean. Besides, it isn’t an auditory hallucination, okay? At any rate, won’t you calm down a little?”
“Cecil-sama, what am I supposed to do?!”
“…For now, let’s calm down, okay?”
I grasped Bertia’s hands as she didn’t seem to listen to my words at all, so that she couldn’t struggle anymore, and examined her expression which was soppy with tears.
Her gaze that hadn’t been focused on anything slowly turned to me, and finally, our eyes met.
“Morning, my cute Tia? I’m completely awake now, so it’s all right.”
When I deliberately smiled at her and used a sweet tone of voice, Bertia’s face was warped for a moment, and even more tears began to overflow.
“Cecil-sama!! I’m glad. So gladdddddd!”
Bertia’s entire body clashed into mine to hug me, and I embraced her back, caressing her back gently to comfort her.
“It seems that I’ve caused you to be very worried. I only took a quick nap, so I’m all right.”
“Aah, God, [Buddha], Heroine-sama, thank you!! I haven’t shaved my hair, but… Aah, it’s surely a deferred payment, isn’t it?! Understood!! I will properly enter the priesthood and work hard for [Buddha]…”
“No, you don’t have to do that, though? Although I don’t know what kind of thing that [Buddha] is. You’ll be permitted to offer your prayers every morning at the church that’s in the royal palace, but you still have your duties as the crown princess, okay? You can’t enter the monastery, okay?”
“Eh?! But I’m the villainess!! If I don’t get my downfall, Cecil-sama and this country’s happiness will…”
“The downfall has been completed already, hasn’t it? Everything has ended, hasn’t it? The future where I will be tied to the [heroine] that you said won’t ever come. As for me… I’m aware that it’s already impossible for me to be together with someone other than you.”
“Eh? Eh? B-but… But, uhm, eh? Me? But, then, what about the development that will come after this…?”
“…Is there still something to be worried about?”
“…?! Uhm… That…”
Wide-eyed, a blush creeped into Bertia’s cheeks from my words, and she began to be flustered.
Judging from her reaction, I quickly understood that there should be something else that I must hear about. However, she doesn’t readily tell me the continuation of her words.
Well, the content is surely related to that [otome game] again, so this kind of situation might not be the best place to talk about it.
“…Sorry for this, but can you just leave this to me? I want to have a proper talk with just the two of us for a moment.”
I looked around at everyone, hinting at my insistence with my gaze.
So that they’ll know this is not a request, but an [order].
“H-however, my daughter hasn’t wedded yet, so even if you’re her fiancé, to let her to be in a bedroom with just Your Highness…”
Though my close aide candidates and Bertia’s friends only smiled wryly and nodded with resigned expressions as if saying, “Good grief,” as expected, only her father—Marquis Noches—was unwilling.
Even with an [order], to let a man and a woman of a marriageable age to be in the same bedroom… Though this is officially just a nap room for people who felt ill, and even though the retainers can overlook the two of us being alone, as the father, he cannot allow it.
Well, it’s not like I don’t understand his feelings, though.
“…In that case, Zeno and you, too, Kuro, you two also stay. Is that all right, Marquis Noches?”
When I meaningfully looked at Marquis Noches to indicate that I wouldn’t be compromising any further than this, he reluctantly nodded.
Bertia murmured, “Otou-sama…,” imploringly, still held between my arms. However, I purposely pretended not to notice.
…Since we’ve come this far, I had absolutely no intention of letting her get away anymore.
“Thanks. …Aah, that’s right. Will you let me check just one thing?”
When the people inside the room were about to stream out as one, I suddenly remembered something that I had to check and called out to them.
“The scene that happened at the graduation ceremony just now, just how did it look like from your perspective?”
When I inquired, Miss Joanna who was at the back of the group blinked her eyes incessantly before muttering, “Aah,” and slowly began to talk.
“The bird that cherished that woman called Heronia suddenly crashed through the glass, so Bertia-sama’s maid stepped forward to protect the two of you, but just before it could bump into her, a bright light shone… and the bird appeared to have disappeared. However, I wasn’t able to see the last scene clearly as it was just too radiant. I wonder what everyone else saw?”
She looked towards the people behind her, and when Lady Joanna turned the topic to everyone closer to the door than her, they all had a curious expression as they nodded, stating that they also saw the scene like that.
“Your Highness, just what was that? …Could it be?”
As Charles tried to turn over the question to me, his eyes widened in surprise.
All of the people here including the guard knights are high-ranking nobles.
Even if they have never actually seen a [spirit], they had been taught about spirits in their respective houses as part of their education.
Of course, that also included keeping the existence of spirits a secret among only the upper echelon of nobles.
“Yeah, that’s right. That bird is the light spirit’s camouflage.”
When I told them that while smiling, all of them had their breath taken away.
Though they were surprised, as expected, there wasn’t a single person here who didn’t understand what kind of creature the [light spirit] was.
“Judging from your reaction, you understand bad it would be if this were to be exposed to anyone outside the higher nobility right? …Sorry, but can you fabricate a proper story to deceive the others?”
Perhaps my father is already doing something about such a matter.
It wouldn’t be good to expose the danger of spirits due to this farce.
However, this is still within the academy, and almost all people inside the assembly hall are the students.
If adults were to unskillfully intervene and be too conspicuous, people might get suspicious.
It would be good if Kulgan who’s currently running around the assembly hall could neatly control the situation as the next head of the student council, but… on top of his parental situation, there’s a high possibility that he doesn’t know about the existence of spirits yet.
Since he might become one of my close aides in the future, there was no issue in telling him, but I have a hunch that it’s a lot of responsibility to tell him amidst this kind of situation and for him to immediately deal with the situation afterward.
That being the case, things will go smoother if it was done by the people who have already received the education and possessed a high ability to deal with the situation.
My close aide candidates and the noble ladies were overcome with surprise due to my sudden revelation and request.
“Eh? That is a spirit? What?”
Lady Silica asked while blinking repeatedly.
“It’s my first time encountering one.”
When Lady Silica said that in her surprise, Miss Joanna answered while Charles still showed his astonished expression, and they seemed to be in the middle of digesting that fact.
“No, I don’t think that spirit is your first, though?”
Miss Joanna and Charles made a curious expressions towards me after I answered with a meaningful smile.
No, I mean, even now, there are two spirits standing right before you, okay?
Well, let’s hold on from telling them of this fact until the time they get really curious of the spirits and let’s enjoy the moment.
“Well then, I’ll leave the rest to you guys. I will also come there as soon as my talk with her is finished. …That’s right, I wonder if it’s plausible to start the party again in about one hour?”
“A-are you going to start it up again?”
Charles’ cheeks turned stiff at my words.
Well, after all, when the end to that showy fight scene (?) ended, I—who was the crown prince—collapsed.
The commotion among the students would surely be quite big, and if the party were to be dissolved today just like this and send out apology letters with small gifts, or to take the time rehost the party again on another day, it would be much easier, but…
“Since it’s the long-awaited graduation party, I considered what would happen if we were just to end it with this kind of a bad aftertaste. If it’s possible, wouldn’t you want the end to be happy memories overwriting a trifling sideshow? Besides, everyone would definitely feel more relieved once they see me in full health and Bertia’s peace of mind restored.”
When I repeated, “Please take care of it,” with a smile on my whole face, Charles answered, “I understand!” half despairing and departed the room.
Behind him, the others followed with somewhat tired expressions.
Well, there might be a few difficulties, but including Baroness Heronia’s matters from the start, we’ve condemned her several times—in Bertia’s words, we have executed a [downfall]. So, since those follow-up preparations were already completed, everything should turn out fine.
But the most unexpected thing was for Baroness Heronia’s contracted spirit to possess a profound affection and determination to protect her to the extent that he was willing to burn away his own life, and I was hit and I lost consciousness for a short time.
If we’re talking about changes to that extent, then those excellent people would be able to do anything to achieve that, wouldn’t they?
More importantly, the problem that I should put in order for now is…
“Now, Tia. We are alone now. Will you talk to me about everything that you haven’t said up until now?”
Kuro and Zeno remained here, while the other members exited the room. After confirming it from the sound of the door being closed, I faced Bertia.
I couldn’t help but smile wryly upon seeing that sloppy face of hers that was filled with tears, and after gently wiping that face with a handkerchief, I slowly guided her to the bed and the two of us sat down.
The sound of the bed creaking echoed within the room as it received two people’s bodily weight.
As expected, the two spirits managed to read the situation and erased their presences as they silently watched over us from the corner of the room.
“Cecil-sama, I, that…”
Bertia—who completely changed from her previous state of crying and shouting about and became quiet—raised her eyes to look at me anxiously.
Because of her crying and her face being wiped by the handkerchief before, her make-up has come off from her face already. And that kind of face looked even more innocent than usual, stirring up my desire to protect her.
I restrained the urge to just tell her, “Everything’s fine,” and coaxed her to continue her earlier words.
Surely, if I don’t properly inquire her here, she will end up worrying about it alone and then behave recklessly.
I was confident of that much.
“Tia, since we will become a married couple immediately after your graduation, let’s not keep any secrets, okay?”
“T-that is, it’s already a settled matter?!”
I took her hand and gently kissed the ring that was there on her ring finger, and turned towards her with a smile.
When I slightly narrowed my eyes to tell her that she originally had no option to say no, her small hand responded with a slight jump within mine.
It is a fact that the future path that she pictured has definitely been erased.
“But, but, but…”
“Even if you struggle, the circumstances won’t change anymore. However, changing the future that will come after this…”
“Please don’t lie to me!! Cecil-sama who wasn’t involved with the heroine doesn’t have any interest in this country’s future, let alone our future, and yet…!!”
Bertia interrupted my words and glared at me with her eyes that were filled with sadness and pent-up resentment.
I was bewildered as I couldn’t understand what the source of that anger was and why she treated me as a liar.
“Uuuuuu~. I-I just wanted the people that I love, for everyone to become happy, and yet… Why doesn’t everything turn out well? Why can’t I be a proper villainess?!”
I gently caressed Bertia’s back as she began to cry again.
“Tia, I don’t understand what you know and what you’re thinking to cause you to grieve like this, but I haven’t said a single lie. After all, I think that I want to improve the future of this country in which you’re in, as a proper crown prince.”
“That is… but…”
“Everything will be fine. Won’t you trust me and talk about it?”
She looked at me with her eyes that were filled with a mixture of anxiety and hope, and also a desire to believe in me along with her distrust.
I faced those eyes of hers and showed a smile from the bottom of my heart, and slowly nodded back.
“…Understood. I will tell you. But, but, please don’t get hurt by it, okay? If Cecil-sama’s words are genuine, then this is not about Cecil-sama, rather, it’s a story about [His Highness Cecil Glo Alphasta] from the [otome game].”
After a short moment of silence, she slightly nodded as if she just made up her mind. Then, with her hand grasping my hand tightly as it rested on my palm, she slowly and seriously opened her mouth.
After I roughly finished listening to her incomprehensible story and sorting through it inside my head, I felt a strong headache.
“In other words, the graduation party should be where the judgment event occurs and at the same time, the [event] where the [heroine] decides which capturable target character she chooses also occurs? And awaiting after that, is either an [individual route] or the [harem route], each narrative already predetermined?”
“That’s right. The selectable capture target character will change depending on how much the [heroine] has been trying to capture the target character and how much favorability she has acquired up to the graduation party. The capturable target characters that are eligible to be selected will each give an ornament adorned in their own hair color to the [heroine] by the graduation party, so it will be apparent who you can choose from. Then, the selected route will change depending on which ornament the [heroine] wears to the party.”
“She was wearing a yellow dress today. …Though I hadn’t given it to her.”
Although it was evident that I wasn’t included in the options, she didn’t give up and obtained a yellow dress on her own and [selected] me, huh.
From Bertia’s story, [no favorability, no gift] should be a matter of fact, but Baroness Heronia ignored it and believed that it would be all right as long as it was the [choice] that she made.
“Originally, the yellow dress is something that she is able to receive from Cecil-sama if Cecil-sama’s favorability is high. If it’s the harem route, then she will have to wear it together with the necklace, earrings, or the bracelet that the others gave. I think that… Heronia-sama wanted to choose Cecil-sama’s individual route because she was only wearing the yellow dress today.”
When I looked at Bertia who frowned for only an instant, a part of my heart felt a slight satisfaction.
Come to think of it, she might be talking about the significance of the gift dispassionately like this, but has she grasped the significance of the fact that she is currently wearing the [yellow dress] that is the sign of my favorability?
…Well, I guess that she won’t obediently accept it what with the various outcomes she’s considered, among them being maintaining a good balance with the [heroine]. After things calmed down, it might be good to point that out to her again and have her think about its significance properly.
Of course, I will give her hints and elucidation so that she would be able to reach the correct answer.
“And then, the problem lies in the individual route that will unfold after she made her selection, right?”
“That’s right. Cecil-sama’s route and the harem route are actually lovey dovey domestic affairs routes with Cecil-sama plus a 30% increase in sweetness. In the harem route, there will be an additional jealousy event as it’s entangled with the other targets, but… since I’m in the loyal-to-one-person faction, I don’t really like that route.”
“Yes, that’s good. …If you were to form a harem, I’d have to do various behind-the-scenes work so that you won’t be able to look elsewhere.”
“Eh? Did you say something?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
I shook my head and smiled at a confused Bertia, dodging over my true feelings I’d accidentally leaked out in a low voice.
Her face seemed to be slightly curious, but since her nature was simple, she didn’t seem to mind it that much.
…Nevertheless, self-consciousness is something truly frightening.
If I didn’t know of the word [obsession], I might have perceived this current emotion as just a [strange sensation].
“Although troubles arise in both Cecil-sama’s route and the harem route, in the end, they are all overcome by working together with Cecil-sama and it’s a happy end for everyone. …With the exception of the villains. However, as for the others’ routes…”
“In the other routes, I either get assassinated, disappeared, arbitrarily leaving for a trip around the country, get engrossed in a study and become a shut-in… or becoming crazy for wars and embarking in a storm of wars, is it?”
It goes without saying that my headache reached its peak around this point.
However… when I recalled the figure of the other me and my younger self that the light spirit showed, I didn’t have any confidence to assert, “There is no way!!”
Currently, I’ve discovered an existence named Bertia that serves as the subject of my interest, as well as the reason for my existence.
That is why, I’m able to lead an enjoyable life now, but if this wasn’t the case…
I will surely despair at life and at the world.
Generally, if I was being targeted by an assassin, my reaction might just be thinking, “Well, I’ve had enough of my life, so it’s fine,” and since I just digested anything without feeling any kind of an interest, I’d grow sick of life and the future, and I might even poke my nose into dangerous things.
In order to find enjoyable things that can spark my interest, I would leave the country to Shaun and set off on a journey, or I might discover some enjoyment from engrossing myself in a study or in warfare, getting completely absorbed in it without caring for my surroundings… I can’t claim those are things I wouldn’t do.
The [doll] me that has no attachment to anything wouldn’t be afraid of losing anything and wouldn’t feel anything.
Moreover, since I met Bertia, I managed to discover my interest in being involved with people, and I managed to be able to notice the others’ weakness and pain, and the fact that they were different from me, but if that wasn’t the case… even I can’t imagine how it would be.
…Well, if, right at this moment, I were to be asked whether I completely understand the right kind of heart a person should have, I wouldn’t be able to tell.
“That’s right. In His Highness Shaun’s route, you’d go missing while leaving being a letter which contained these words, [I’m tired of being royalty. I’ll concede my succession right to Shaun. I’ll leave the rest to you]. Then, after that, His Majesty the King would be killed by poison, and His Highness Shaun, who was frightened by the neighboring countries that took this chance to invade, would be encouraged and supported by the heroine, and their love will be nurtured as they fight together. …However, I don’t feel like you’d be able to win a war with the power of love alone. In the game, after somehow emerging victorious in the first battle, he said, [If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t have been able to work hard up to this point] and a lovey dovey happy end will welcome you. However, I’m anxious of the things that will happen thereafter.”
“…Well, that’s right. No matter how you think about it, Shaun isn’t inclined to be a king, nor is he suited for war.”
“Cecil-sama of the [otome game] thinks that because it’s something that he is able to do, then his Highness Shaun should be able to do it, too. You felt that it wasn’t that difficult to do.”
“…Is that so?”
Certainly, I think that if it were the old me, then I’d think so.
Since I was the crown prince and the people surrounding me were also excellent, I considered being able to do things as [normal] and couldn’t really comprehend about not being able to do something or not being able to grasp things.
But now, thanks to continuously watching Bertia fail over and over, I managed to understand that there are people who are unable to do something, and I gained a self-consciousness on how I’m superior than most people.
That should be growth, right?
“In Kulgan-sama’s route, Cecil-sama is assassinated, and Kulgan-sama who knows that the culprit is a person from a neighboring country will want to go to the neighboring country, disregarding his own life. The heroine will go to stop him and upon saying, [I will also come along with you], the two of them will infiltrate the neighboring country. Then, as they overcome numerous hardships, their love also deepens, and then they’re able to determine that the assassin was dispatched by the neighboring country’s royalty, but…”
“…Well, if that’s the case, then war will occur, right?”
“That’s right. They will somehow manage to obtain the evidence and escape together, returning safely to the country and report it to His Majesty the King and the story goes to a happy ending, but… at the end, a war in order to avenge Cecil-sama will occur.”
“…And that’s a happy ending?”
“They become lovey-dovey after getting over dangers together, and while it’s a happy ending for their romance on the surface, I don’t agree.”
“I think so, too.”
I reflexively let out my bitter smile.
It’s certainly a situation that rouses romantic feelings, and it might even be intriguing as a story.
However, though retaliation is indispensable in the case that a royalty is assassinated, as a result, many lives will be lost, and I don’t think that can be considered a happily ever after..
If I were there, I might be able to think of a solution, but… In that scenario, I was already killed from the start.
Most likely, they wouldn’t be able to stop it from happening.
“So, I will disappear in Charles’ route?”
“Yes, that’s right. Cecil-sama’s whereabouts become unknown in the middle of coming home from a diplomacy meeting with the neighboring country. Apparently, you caught a sight of a suspicious person and went to pursue them alone. At that time, the relationship with the neighboring country isn’t that good. Therefore, we send a request to the neighboring country to allow our country’s soldiers to enter in order to search for Cecil-sama, but the neighboring country becomes suspicious, ‘Are you planning on invading our country and attack from inside?’, and so, the search is unable to successfully carry on. Thereupon, Charles-sama is going to the neighboring country as a negotiator, and the heroine is accompanying him.”
“The delay of the initial investigation would have hurt. With me being myself, I don’t think that I would have gotten done in that easily, but… If it’s the current me, there’s no way that I’d pursue that person by myself. In actuality, I can’t really guess on how I’d take action at that time.”
I thought about [what would I do if it were me] while listening to Bertia’s talk and tilted my head.
However, the current me has reliable right and left hands—there are my close aide candidates, and not to mention Bertia’s existence, I’d prioritize my own safety, and would do such a dangerous thing. When I thought about it, I wouldn’t have put myself in that kind of a scenario no matter what.
I think that [that me] who moved by himself on the spur of the moment didn’t really have the perception of relying on other people.
After all, it was how I was since I was a child.
I could do most of things by myself, and rather, since I could accomplish things faster and more reliably by myself than by asking others, I felt that it was even more troublesome to ask things from the others. Even now, I still bear that in my mind.
If I were to grow up without having that feeling changed at all, then I think that I’d surely feel that it would be natural for me to move by myself without the slightest bit of hesitation.
…Since it’s faster and more reliable that way.
“Cecil-sama was infiltrating a shrewdly hidden base of operations, even though it was in the neighboring country’s inner palace.. It seemed that there were traitors in our country and they seemed to be communicating with the neighboring country. Then, after arranging to invade our country, they took Cecil-sama’s absence as an opportunity to make a move. At the time, Charles-sama was visiting the neighboring country while on the search for Cecil-sama, and heard about it from Cecil-sama, who handed him evidence. Urging Charles-sama to immediately return, Cecil-sama said, [Even if something happens to me, there is still Shaun so everything will be fine]. Cecil-sama would be inspecting the neighboring country for a bit longer, so they wouldn’t be returning together. Immediately aborting discussions would raise suspicion, so after putting up a pretence of discussions, Charles-sama returned and handed His Majesty the evidence and letters that Cecil-sama had ordered him to deliver. After that, joining hands with Cecil-sama who was still infiltrated, they attacked the neighboring country simultaneously from outside and within, and brought that country to ruin. Incidentally, during that period of time, there was a romantic event that involved a female intelligence member completely looking like Anne-sama obtaining a piece of information shocking to Charles-sama, and his love with the heroine would rapidly grow from there until the two will reached their happy end.”
“…The war began quite calculatively, right?”
Bertia nodded dejectedly with teary eyes to my response.
Looking at her dejected state, I slightly tightened my grip on her hand, gently rubbing the back of her hand with my thumb to convey that, “Everything is all right.”
“The rest is… About me becoming a shut-in in Nert’s route and becoming a warmonger in Bard’s route, right?”
“That’s right. In Nert-sama’s route, Cecil-sama had too much leisure time and the brief period that Cecil-sama looked over the research Nert-sama had been working on, had allowed Cecil-sama to complete it. And then Nert-sama, who felt depressed, was cheered up by the heroine. Then after that, Cecil-sama was engrossed in the research of things like a new mineral or the composition of gunpowder, and ended up confining yourself in your self-made laboratory. Then, the neighboring country saw that as a chance and attacked. At that time, Nert-sama created a powerful weapon that used the gunpowder that Cecil-sama made, which guided our country’s path to victory. Then, Nert-sama who immediately turned into a man and the heroine who had been supporting him were tied by their deep love and welcomed their happy end.”
“It’s good that our country obtained strong military power, but on that subject, the victims of war would also surge, it seems?”
“I’m also very worried about it.”
The shadow in Bertia’s eyes grew a shade darker.
Though she would usually look on the bright side, and no matter how much of a fuss she kicked up, it would usually end up trivial, this not only weighed on her mind, she also became reticent.
Sorry, Bertia. I was wrong for taking you as only an idiot before all this.
“Then, what about the last scenario where I become someone who’s crazy for war?”
“For Bard-sama’s route… it’s exactly how it sounds. Cecil-sama was getting bored of the peaceful times when the neighboring country attacked. Using that as an impetus, Cecil-sama could appear on the battlefield. Then, under his so-called sovereign duty to his kingdom, Cecil-sama who was starving for another stimulus discovered several secluded countries in conflict against our country one by one, and focused on forcing them to surrender. Bard-sama stayed by Cecil-sama’s side and continued to protect him, and when he was worn down mind and body from continuously placing himself in the middle of war, the heroine was there to support him. In the end, Cecil-sama unified the neighboring countries and in the newfound peace, the two of them spent their days happily. It was that kind of story.”
“That… the damage that was done in the process of finding happiness is quite unusual. And when it becomes peaceful, I will become bored and do something else.”
Since it was boring, I went into wars with the neighboring countries and unified them. If it’s like that, once it became peaceful and once I got bored again, I think that I’d find another target to attack.
I see. That is certainly an amazing person who’s [crazy for wars].
Even when I feel that I don’t want to reach that point, but I ended up thinking about what I’d do if there is even a little bit of something that can moisten the thirsty and dry heart that had always had nothing to fill it up.
I wanted to deny it, but it’s a truth that can’t be denied.
“…I’m a more terrible human than I’d thought, huh?”
“T-that’s wrong!! The Cecil-sama I know is completely different from the Cecil-sama from the [otome game]!! You will always help me whenever I’m troubled, and you’re also a reliable existence for other people!! There’s no way that such a gentle person is a doll!!”
In response to my spontaneous whisper and bitter smile, Bertia didn’t care about disheveling her hair and shook her head vigorously.
Looking at her desperate state, I felt a fresh surge of warmth in my chest.
That warmth managed to heal the part of my heart that was unintentionally hurt by the illusion that the light spirit showed.
Then, I thought once more.
It was because there was the existence called Bertia that the current me managed to become a difference existence than the me from the [otome game] that she talked about.
The only difference was the existence of one person.
The heroine in the world of that [otome game] might have been able to play a similar role, but even so, I’m sure that it wouldn’t make me become the way I am right now. …couldn’t make me become the way I am right now.
“There’s no way Cecil-sama is a doll!! There’s no way… you’re a doll… absolutely not!! The Cecil-sama that I love is a warm person. He is a person who’s able to become happy. He isn’t the same person as Cecil-sama in the [game], who is smiling with cold eyes without any single trace of warmth. Not the one who has the desperate gaze… as if he was tired of everything!! He is someone who possesses a gentle heart that is considerate to people. For him to become like that, there is no way…”
Perhaps due to her rising emotion while she was talking, Bertia’s tears began to spill in large drops. I gently hugged her as if I holding something fragile.
I’m happy that it’s not just anyone else, but Bertia who thinks of me like that and believes in me.
I’m happy, but… since I know the element of a [doll] that I’m holding within myself, I feel a little bit awkward upon hearing her high assessment of myself.
Bertia, I’m sorry, but I probably have yet to fully turn into a [human] to that extent, you know?
Sometimes, I don’t particularly feel anything towards others. There are also times when I feel like I don’t have any interest in anything, and even until this very day, I have yet to fully understand the feeling of bestowing generous acts and gifts without any personal gain.
You’re the only thing that I feel like I don’t want to lose, and even if I were to lose the others, perhaps I’d just say, “I see,” and that’s it.
Even if you said that I was relied by the others, it was mostly for things concerning yourself.
Even if there may be things that I want as the crown prince, but for me as my own person, there’s only that, okay?
…However, that’s right.
If you want me to be like that, then it might be fun to try hard to become like that.
Though there might be some troublesome things, as long as you laugh—then it might not be so bad.
The only one who can make me [human] is you, so I’ll have you take a full responsibility until the very end, okay?
“Cecil-sama, I’m so sorry. Since I couldn’t become a proper villainess, the existence known as the [fated girl] who could heal Cecil-sama is no longer here. But, but, but, please don’t abandon us! Don’t lose to the compelling force, and don’t return to be a doll… d-don’t disappear, don’t behave recklessly, and don’t become a shut-in, pleaseeeee!”
While patting Bertia’s back as she hugged me tightly as if to say that she won’t let me go, I felt that the corners of my mouth naturally curved up.
On top of her saying that she loves the [current] me, she also wishes for me to be here.
And, I also wish for her, the person who gives me warmth and enjoyment in life, to be here.
To be honest, currently, I have no interest at all in war.
Rather, I want to remove the option from my mind completely, because it would decrease my time spent observing her.
Knowing that there’s something more fun, why would I be willing to throw it away and become hooked on another thing? That is quite unthinkable.
I have no way to express this other than that it’s our matching interest.
If that’s the case, then there would be no problem for me to tie her to myself, right?
At that time, I suddenly recalled the [proof] of the [fated girl] that Baroness Heronia said.
…I see. Is that so? So it’s that kind of a thing, huh?
While I continued to pat Bertia’s back many times over in order to calm her down as she clung to me, I turned my gaze towards Zeno.
Without using my voice, I moved my lips to say, [Proof].
Zeno, firmly holding my gaze, quickly shook his head many times over.
Next to him, sensing the unsettling atmosphere, there was Kuro who felt flustered and continued to pay her attention to our direction as she was worried about Bertia who was clinging to me and sobbing.
“Everything is going to be fine.”
My gaze unwavering on Zeno, I showed a full-faced smile. This time, I said it clearly with my voice.
In response to my words, Bertia stirred restlessly in my arms and raised her face.
Adjusting to her movement, I also shifted my gaze towards her and smiled to reassure her.
[I don’t know anymore, all right? Please do the follow-up by yourself, okay?]
The wind that contained Zeno’s power delivered the words that only I can hear to my ears.
Satisfied with it, I firmly nodded without removing my gaze from Bertia.
“What is going to be fine? The scenario is already messed up, you know? We’re heading at full speed toward the bad end!!”
“Tia likes me?”
“W-w-wha?! What are you talking about?! Such a thing, I…”
“Earlier you said, [the Cecil-sama that I love], though?”
“…?! T-that is… but, I’m the villainess.”
With her bright red face, Bertia fell down.
But looking at her expression and behavior, her feelings are very clear.
“Then, it’s going to be fine.”
“Like I said, what is going to…”
“Since I also like Tia.”
Bertia, whose whole body couldn’t flush any more red than this, opened her eyes so wide they looked like they would fall out from surprise.
Her mouth fluttered open and closed without being able to utter a word, and in response, my expression melted into a sweet smile the likes of which I have never shown before.
I gently lifted her chin and captured those restlessly quivering eyes, securely meeting her gaze.
“Although I am incompetent, but as long as you capture me, I feel like I can become both a better crown prince and capture target. That’s why… you are my [fated girl].”
What I languidly expressed left her in complete chaos. Then, over herー over my beloved’s lips, I softly pressed my own.
At the same time that our lips separated after overlapping for only a moment, Bertia’s soundless scream and Kuro’s menacing voice resounded.
Simultaneously, the back of Bertia’s left hand was wrapped in a mysterious light for a moment, but it went unnoticed by Bertia, who was on the verge of exploding with her ripening, bright-red face.
I covered her mouth with my hands and the moment I thought to take a better look at my adorable Miss Fiancée’s face—whose eyes, despite looking bewildered, didn’t carry a trace of rejection— my field of vision was obstructed by a fluffy black object.
Her spirit, Kuro, thrust herself between us with her lustrous tail fluffed up to three times the usual size, hugging that small body of Bertia in order to protect her, trying to intimidate me.
I predicted that things would become like this in the end, but I felt that it was slightly unpleasant to have the warmth within my arms snatched away like this.
Well, with Kuro’s tail being clad in a black lightning, I can’t provoke her any more than this, though.
“Ce-cecil-sama!! What did you…?! I-I’m the villainess, not the heroine!!”
“To me, the heroine is you. Come, look.”
Bertia who finally came to her senses in Kuro’s arms was glaring at me with teary eyes, but with her current bright red face, it doesn’t have any effect.
Rather, I feel like it seems to bring a different kind of warmth from the depth of my body.
I pointed at the back of her hand, urging her to notice.
Even with her suspicious expression, she raised her hand and obediently looked at the back that was lighting up.
The moment she saw what was on the back of her hand, she got goosebumps. As if to response that, Kuro’s expanded tail also grew.
“W-w-w-why did this mark appear on me?! Eh?! I’ve always thought of myself as a villainess, but could it be that I was the heroine all along?! No, there’s no way that could happen!! I’m certainly a villainess!! I’m a third-rank villainess, though?!”
On the back of the hand that Bertia rubbed in her bewilderment, there was a mark with various colors intermingling into some kind of an aurora.
The mark resembled some kind of a crest at the size of a coin, and it was designed beautifully as if it was carved intentionally.
“Tia, the proof that you’ve been selected as my special partner is there on your hand. If the master wills it, the spirits extend their protection to the one and only partner that their master chose. That is the proof. You called it as the [proof of the fated girl], but that’s exactly it. That is the mark bestowed on the fated partner that [I’ve chosen].”
As Bertia tilted her head while saying, “Eh? Eh? So it has that kind of meaning?” She stared and repeatedly blinked at the mark that was on the back of her own hand.
Though Bertia was easily convinced with that, if I’d said earlier that it was the [proof of the fated girl], there’s no doubt that she’d misunderstand it with the [heroine].
Rather than saying that it was [proof given to your partner], saying that it was a [special mark that emerged because they were the fated partner] would increase the feeling of being special, and that would be able to give the impression to the partner that they were the [one and only].
It becomes a good way to bind your partner to yourself.
“As long as it’s there, if there is danger around you, it will be transmitted to me and Zeno, and even if there’s a little danger, Zeno’s power will protect you. Even if you go far away, I’ll know your whereabouts, so even if you’re kidnapped or become lost, I will be able to quickly find you, you know? …You can no longer run away from me, so prepare yourself okay?”
I purposely announced that as a warning and to tell her that I’m also not planning to let her escape anymore.
Though there might be some things that could make her frightened, I’m going to make it up for her by cherishing her manyfold…
“I see!! So it’s that kind of a thing!!”
When I smiled with gloomy inner thoughts, Bertia cut off that line of thinking right away as her whole face lit up.
…Hey, did you hear my previous words just now? It’s fine if you show a bit more reaction to that?
“With that, if Cecil-sama is in danger, I’ll be able to come and help, and even if you disappear or even if you’re at home, your location will be leaked to me!! I will be able to come and find you, right?! As for the shut-in route and the war-crazy route… I will try my best so that Cecil-sama can enjoy himself!! If it’s for Cecil-sama’s sake, I’ll show you that I can learn even [juggling], [belly dance], or even [loach-catching dance]!!”
[Juggling]? [Belly dance]? [Loach-catching dance]? I can’t really understand what those are, but did she begin to run towards a strange direction again?
Hey, be a little more frightened of my attachment, or something…
“Now, Kuro, this is my request!! Give the same thing to Cecil-sama!! With that, we might be able to erase half of the routes!! Cecil-sama is really brilliant!!”
…Hey, Bertia. You really don’t have any interest in listening to me, do you?
Aah, yup. As long as it can make Bertia happy, of course I will happily accept that proof, but I wonder if it’s really okay?
She understands the meaning… No, she definitely doesn’t understand it.
She came up with a different interpretation, and is now absorbed in it.
As for Kuro… Aah, she is making a very unwilling face. I see, she can’t refuse Bertia’s request, right?
I understand. It’s not like you succumbed to the temptation of [inarizushi] that Bertia suggested to negotiate with you, right?
I don’t see your tail slightly wagging at the mention of [inarizushi]. I don’t see anything, okay?
“Now, Kuro, do it!! Oh my, for some reason, I totally feel like a villainess now? As expected of me!!”
Somehow, I don’t quite get it, but well, if my prey jumps into my pocket on her own, then it’s only right for me to just be thankful and enjoy myself, right?
“Then, Kuro, can I ask you to do it?”
When I smiled and presented the same left hand as Bertia’s to Kuro, Kuro’s mouth soured as if to say, “Eh~” and giving the impression like, “It can’t be helped, then!”, that bushy tail hit the back of my left hand with all of her strength.
Surprisingly, that amount of strength wasn’t out of displeasure so I’ll take it as a pep talk to say, “I’m relying on you to take care of her,” okay?
“Yup, it’s beautifully made. Kuro’s mark is really cool.”
After her tail left me, I looked at the back of my hand where there was something similar to a black crest imprinted.
This is certainly Kuro’s mark that has a completely different shape than Zeno’s.
“With this, everything will be fine!! After that, I can avoid the war together with Cecil-sama… Aaaaaah!! That’s right!! After my downfall event, the internal traitors who were supposed to be linked to my father should be revealed, but since there was no downfall, they won’t be revealed!!”
“Aah, it’s surely about Count Uradil, so it’s fine. He has already been processed.”
“Eh? Eeh?! T-that, but the s-scenario!!”
“You’re still talking about it? Hasn’t the scenario already completely collapsed? Afterall, you’ve become my fated partner, too.”
“I already told you this is the proof of that, you know? Speaking of which, it’s possible to make it invisible, but it can’t be erased in a lifetime, and it’s something that can be attached to just one person in one’s lifetime, okay?”
“Eh? Uhm… that… eh? I’m the partner?”
“I’m looking forward to our marriage ceremony, okay, my dear wife?”
“…?! What?! Myaaaaaaa!!”
I smiled with my whole face and whispered gently close to her ear just as Bertia was beginning to regain her composure.
The moment I took the opportunity to lightly kiss her on the cheek, she turned bright red and raised a cat-like scream. Looking at her like this, I’m convinced that my life from now on will surely be very interesting.
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