She’s so Cheeky for a Commoner! 9

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Catherine Achard.

“Hey Catherine, I’d really like to introduce you to Pipi and Loretta sometime soon…”

The mumble that came back in response was sleepy and laidback.
It was still early at the academy dorms, but it wouldn’t be long before Lene… and that loathsome commoner would come by.
Right now though, it was just my roommate―Catherine―and I.

Catherine had fluffy blonde hair done in curls, similar to my own, and emerald eyes.
We had known each other since our childhood and, due to our similar appearances, were often mistaken for sisters.

“Like I said, I’d like to introduce you to Pipi and Loretta.”
“Why…? Because Pipi and Loretta are my friends.
Isn’t it obvious that I’d want the people close to me to get to know you?”

Without giving a yes or a no, she lazily flopped her body to a different position on my bed.
If I hadn’t known better, her sleeping face looked so convincing that I would’ve thought that she really had gone back to sleep.
Unfortunately for her, we had known each other for a long time and I could tell that she just didn’t want to think about it.

“Don’t pretend that you’ve gone back to sleep.
I see straight through it.”
“I guess I can’t pull the wool over your eyes, Claire-chan~ Welp, I guess I’ll get up~”

Catherine lazily slouched her upper body to sit up.

“Morning, Claire.”
“Good morning, Catherine.”
“I did good so give me a reward~”

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“What do you mean you did good… All you did was get up.”
“Yeah, in my world that’s a whole lot of good.”
“Geez… alright, just one, okay?”

With a sigh, I retrieved the pot of candy that was on Catherine’s desk and tossed one into her mouth.

“Mm~, when it comes to candy it just has to be licorice!”
“I’m not too fond.”
“You’re so childish, Claire-chan~”
“If you’re an adult then you should be able to eat without my help.”
“Mm… I’d rather not~ I mean Claire-sama went out of her way to buy them for me so~”

I knew that Catherine liked these candies, so during my last outing, I bought some for her.

“You’re just trying to change the subject.”
“Was it that obvious?”
“Just how long do you think we’ve known each other?”

She and I first met around when I had first become aware of my surroundings―shortly after my mother had passed―so we had known each other for more than ten years now.

“So? You’re okay with it, right?”
“Claire-chan, you’re so impatient~”

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“Don’t you think that you’re taking things too slow!?”

Catherine had been like this for as long as I had known her.
No matter what she did, it was always at her own pace.
A stark contrast to me as I preferred taking care of things promptly.

“MmーI think I’ll pass after all.”
“But why?”
“Think about it Claire-chan, if they knew about us, it’d just cause you trouble~”

Though her words were self-deprecating, Catherine’s face showed no signs of that.
Quite the opposite, she appeared as though she had just nonchalantly stated the truth.
I vehemently detested that.

“What makes you think that your existence would bring trouble to me!”
“‘Cuz, my household and House François don’t get alongー”
“That has nothing to do with this.
It’s certainly hard to say that House Achard and House François are on good terms, but our personal friendship doesn’t have to involve that.”

Catherine was the daughter of House Achard, as previously stated, one of the four most influential groups within Bauer.
They had both history and rank, standing at the center of a faction composed of several noble families.
In recent times though, their influence had been on the decline.
In general, the largest political force could be described to be all of the factions in support of King Rousseau and First Prince Rodd.
House François and House Achard both fell under that, but were in a political struggle to claim leadership of it.
So, just as Catherine had said, I could not claim that our families were on good terms.

Even so, I considered Catherine to be a close friend.
Noble society was a vacuum and the two of us had spent a lot of time together within it.
In my own way, I saw her as someone precious.

“And I mean, aren’t you and Loretta one day going to be sisters?”
“Mm… I guess so~”

Catherine’s brother in law, Christophe-sama, was Loretta’s fiancé.
Their engagement was also deeply tangled in the power struggles between nobles, but I’ll leave those details for another time.
Regardless, no matter which angle I took, it was strange that these two who would one day become sisters still did not know each other.

“You say sisters… but I’m just the child of my dad’s mistress anyway~”
“You… you were actually concerned about something like that?”

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“Nope, I couldn’t care less~ But it appears that my parents think different~”

I had never heard any good rumors about Catherine’s father, Clément-sama.
I believed that it was fine to take pride in one’s social rank and bloodline, but there were many rumors that he abused his position to commit heinous acts against those below him.
While my father was also zealous in regard to rank and blood, he knew where to draw the line.
He was aware that there was nothing to be gained in making a fuss out of bullying the weak.
It was clear that the many nobles who stood with Clément-sama misunderstood the meaning of nobility.

(As proof of that…)

I looked at Catherine’s left leg, which terminated just under her knee.

Catherine had sustained her injury in that disaster of a collision.
In short, she was the one in the other carriage.
As a result of that collision, Catherine suffered serious injuries to her left leg and my mother never came home.

That being said, Catherine’s leg could have healed under the proper care.
Sure, House Achard had been on the decline, but they still held the rank of Marquis.
With the appropriate offerings, Catherine could have received high level healing at the Spirit Church’s infirmaries… but for some reason Clément-sama denied that from her.
According to the rumors, either Clément-sama or his wife was against the idea of spending money on an illegitimate child.
Unable to receive the proper treatment, Catherine lost usage of her left leg and was forced to amputate it from the knee down.
To this day, she has to use a cane to get around.

“Anyway, we’ll leave the introductions for another time, ‘kay?”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t just force her to meet Pipi and Loretta either.
As to why―

“Good morning, Claire-sama.”
“On this lovely morning, I declare the arrival of your dearly beloved, me!”
“Good morning, Lene.
Commoner, you’re free to leave.”
“Ah, that shyness is just another one of your best qualities, Claire-sama!”
“I’ve just about had enough!”

Lene and the commoner clamored into the room.
The commoner proceeded to enact her usual nonsense, but it was a fruitless endeavour to try and stop her.

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“It appears that Catherine-sama isn’t here today either.
I had hoped to be able to see her at least once…“
“Now that you mention it, I’ve never seen her.”

Both Lene and the commoner observed the now empty bed as they said that.
That’s right, Catherine, who had been reflected in my eyes just moments ago, was gone without a trace.

“No, to be precise, she is here.
She is still here…”
“Ah, then she’s just hidden herself again?”
“I heard about it from Lene, but that’s amazing, I can’t see her at all.”

Catherine’s speciality was Invisibility Magic―to put it simply, she had completely erased both her form and presence.
She did this without fail whenever someone came to our room, which was why I couldn’t just force her to meet Pipi and Loretta.

“Hm, I wonder if we’ve done something to upset her? I feel as though I haven’t seen her for the longest time.”
“That’s not it.
She just tends to be… fickle.”
“Or could she just be playing shy?”
“Could you just stay quiet?”

Honestly, I didn’t know why Catherine went to such lengths to hide herself either.
With her injury as her excuse, she rarely ever attended lectures.
In spite of that, she had always managed to maintain competitive grades.
I believed that in and of itself spoke volumes to her unseen efforts.
Though Catherine had her quirks, she was more than capable.

(I’m not going to give up on introducing you to everyone, okay?)

To never be recognized or perceived by others, that was simply far too tragic.
I secretly yearned for the day that Catherine would be able to laugh alongside her friends.

Translator Comment: Who is this girl and what is she doing on Claire’s bed!? What do you think Rei would do if she found out?

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