She’s so Cheeky for a Commoner! 17
Marriage and Love
Some time after the ghost incident, I was on my way back to the dorms with Lene and the commoner.
“Oh? Claire-sama, isn’t that one of your groupies?”
“You shouldn’t call them that.
But yes, that really is Loretta, isn’t it.”
“Is the one next to her Christophe-sama?”
Christophe-sama and Loretta sat on a bench surrounded by flowers on the side of the road.
It seemed the two were talking about something.
“Well, the two are engaged, I’m sure they have lots to talk about.”
“It wouldn’t be good to interrupt them.”
“You really think so?”
Somehow, their conversation just didn’t appear to be proceeding smoothly.
Christophe-sama maintained a calm expression as he talked, but Loretta seemed tense.
Christophe-sama was very different from Clément-sama, so I don’t think that he would have crossed any lines… But I couldn’t help but feel curious.
That said, as Lene pointed out, it was likely best not to interrupt them.
I continued walking with the intent to pass by, but in spite of my considerations,
The two of them noticed and called out to me.
I reluctantly changed course and made way toward the bench.
“Christophe-sama, Loretta, good day.
What were you two talking about?”
Without tipping off that we had been watching over them, I tactfully greeted them.
Lene and the commoner bowed from behind me.
“Ah, it wasn’t anything serious.
Seeing as Loretta will soon turn 16, we were discussing when to hold the ceremony and make it official.”
“My…! So that’s what it was.
“Ah… Uhm, er…”
In response to my congratulations, Loretta seemed to falter.
As I pondered why that might be, Christophe put on a conflicted smile and continued,
“But well, it appears she still has some reservations.”
“No, no! That’s not it at all, Christophe-sama! It’s just… I’ve yet to mature into a lady befitting of your stature and feel that I should focus on myself first―”
In response to the downcast Christophe-sama, Loretta spoke in a hurried fluster.
Just what was going on here?
Loretta’s household, House Cugletto, was under the political faction that supported House François.
As I’ve mentioned, the Cugletto lineage has held a long history in military service.
On top of that, as one of the first to incorporate magic into their techniques, they managed to maintain their influence within the kingdom’s military.
With his eyes set on that influence, Clément-sama arranged a marriage between his son, Christophe-sama, and Loretta hoping to strengthen his own influence while weakening House François.
That said, their engagement was by no means a bad exchange for Loretta.
While she hailed from a powerful militaristic family, Lorec-sama would certainly be the one to succeed the family name.
As the Cugletto’s daughter, if we were to ignore her special circumstance, she was fated to be wed to some noble.
While I found it regrettable that she would be wed to a house that opposed my own, House Achard was still one of the most powerful noble houses in the kingdom.
Considering her position, it should have been one of the best options she had.
“Loretta… you’re lovely just as you are.”
“Yes, I agree with Christophe-sama.
Loretta, you’re already a wonderful lady.”
When I affirmed Christophe-sama’s words, Loretta looked at me with the eyes of an abandoned puppy.
“Haha, it appears that Loretta would prefer to remain by Claire-sama’s side.”
I couldn’t understand what he meant by that.
“It appears her heart is more at ease when she passes time with her girlfriends rather than with me.
If she says that she’s not yet ready for marriage, I have no choice but to back down.”
Loretta covered her face in embarrassment.
“I of course intend to wait as long as you need, but my father has other things in mind.
I’m worried he may do something uncalled for if we delay our ceremony for too long.”
Christophe-sama spoke of his father in a scornful tone.
It was certainly true that Clément-sama had a tendency to become aggressive when things didn’t go his way.
“I’ll put a firm word in with my father and make sure he understands.
Claire-sama, could I ask that you keep an eye over Loretta? If it seems something unreasonable might happen, I’d appreciate it if you could offer her your support.”
Apologizing for potential troubles caused by his father, Christophe-sama lowered his head.
“Christophe-sama, please, raise your head.
Loretta and I are very close friends.
This may be a tad rude to Clément-sama, but should he try to harm her in any way, he can expect House François to stand up to him.”
“That’s very reassuring.”
Christophe-sama smiled in relief.
It was then that Loretta spoke up.
“I understand, let’s proceed with the ceremony.”
Loretta spoke clearly, and yet, her expression was tinged with sadness.
“In exchange, I ask that you wait until after the autumn concert.”
“The one that happens each year?”
The two referred to a concert that was held in the kingdom as part of its annual harvest festival.
Outstanding musicians were invited, not just from the kingdom, but from all around the world.
It was every musician’s dream to one day perform on that stage.
“Loretta, have you already received an invitation to perform?”
But this year… This year, I’ll do my best and make sure to secure my spot.”
Only the cream of the crop, the very best were invited to perform at this concert.
While Loretta was noted as an up-and-coming talent, she had yet to be invited.
Many who had performed on this stage were all very seasoned musicians, and really, the only one that had been invited from our generation was Sein-sama.
“What do you intend to do if you don’t manage to qualify?”
“If I don’t qualify I’ll begin preparing for our ceremony immediately.
I don’t want to keep you waiting for longer than you already have.”
Every year the participating musicians were confirmed by the end of summer.
So, if Loretta was unable to receive an invitation by the end of summer, she would begin preparing for their wedding.
“That’s fine by me.
As I said, I’m willing to wait as long as you need.
Loretta, If in doing so you yourself would be able to accept our marriage in earnest, nothing would make me happier.”
“Thank you so much.”
As I listened to their conversation, I couldn’t help but feel that something was strange.
As I’ve described, this wedding shouldn’t have been a bad deal for either side… And yet, it was as though… As though…
“Hm… Is this like, one of those forced arranged marriages?”
Without a care in the world, the commoner put to words what I had held back.
“But I mean, isn’t that what this is? Aren’t marriages meant to be a happy occasion? And yet, both Loretta-sama and Christophe-sama―”
“That’s quite enough.
I won’t permit you to say any more.”
The commoner continued her act even as she shut her mouth, but she had voiced exactly what I was feeling.
“Your name was Rei? Yes, in a way it’s just as you say.”
Holding Loretta who’s expression had soured, Christophe-sama continued.
“Unlike marriage for commoners, marriage between nobles is often another form of political exchange.
The circumstances of the involved households take precedence over the individual’s feelings, and, as a result, many of these marriages go against the wishes of the wed.”
Loretta hung her head in response to Christophe-sama’s words.
“However, I love Loretta and want her to make her happy.
The only question is whether or not she feels the same way about me.”
Loretta raised her head in shock as though her secret had just been revealed.
“Loretta, I know that you already have feelings for someone else.
There’s no need for you to force yourself to fall in love with me.
I love you, but I have no intention to twist your feelings.
Though… I must say I do feel a tad lonely.”
“That’s why there’s no reason that we must rush our marriage.
While I do want you to be happy, I don’t necessarily believe that I must be the one to do it.”
I couldn’t believe what I had just heard.
Christophe-sama’s words effectively implied that… Depending on the circumstances, he wouldn’t mind revoking their engagement.
“Loretta, I ask that you please take a close look at your own feelings.
Let’s talk about this again after you’ve had the chance to do that.
I apologize if my words rushed you.”
With that, Christophe-sama bowed before taking his leave.
“My apologies, Claire-sama.
There’s something that I need to think about, could I ask that you give me some time alone?”
“… I understand.”
I tried to find the words to say to Loretta, but she politely refused them.
With no other choice, I took Lene and the commoner with me and left.
“Really though, being a noble sounds like such a pain.”
“Didn’t I say it before? We’re different from you carefree commoners.”
“? Just what is it that you’re trying to say?”
“Oh I don’t know, I wonder.”
By the way she reacted, it appeared that Lene understood what the commoner meant.
“I’m sorry, Claire-sama.
This isn’t something that I should say.”
“Even should I order you to?”
“Yes, this is something that Claire-sama must realize for herself.”
Lene was stubborn when she got like this.
While she was normally submissive, if she decided that my order was not my benefit, she wouldn’t budge.
Her answer left me miffed, but I understood that if Lene was the one saying it, there had to be some reason and gave up.
“… And so that’s what happened.”
“Hmm, so something like that happened~”
Back in my room with the lights off, I was chatting with Catherine who lay in the bunk above me and explained what happened earlier.
“What did they mean by that?”
“Claire-chan… you’re really Claire-chan, aren’t you~”
“Oh not you too, what do you mean by that? Come on!”
Somehow, Catherine who hadn’t even been there had also understood whatever it was.
“Just as Lene-chan said, it’s meaningless unless you realize this for yourself.
Okay, good night.”
“Hey, wait! Catherine!”
It wasn’t long before peaceful and rhythmic breaths came from the bunk above.
(… Just what do they mean?)
To memory, on that night, that sense of dissatisfaction plagued me until I fell asleep.
After that, it would be a long time before I remembered that such a conversation had once happened.
Translator Comment: I’m starting to think with how dense Claire is that Rei actually needed to be this aggressive to get through.
Christophe definitely seems really nice, but I’m not sure, something about it just seems so… over the top.
This really may just be my biases speaking though.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
What’s your opinion on Christophe?
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