She’s so Cheeky for a Commoner! 4

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The Three Princes

“Good day to you, Claire-sama!”

As I reviewed my notes in the lecture hall, that commoner called out to me in an overly friendly fashion.
Having noticed my irritation, Loretta blocked the commoner’s path.

“Could you refrain from calling out to her so casually? I’ll have you know that we live in an entirely different world than you do! Isn’t that right, Claire-sama.”

Loretta’s voice was filled with spite.
She wasn’t normally mean-spirited, but she was quite zealous about social status and order.
Much like myself.

“Ah, I have nothing to say to you groupies.
I want to speak to Claire-sama herself.
So once again, good day to you.
Claire-sama?”
“Wha!? The insolence! Do you know who I am? I hail from House Cugletto, a family that’s served House François for generations―”
“So simply put you’re a groupie, right?”
“C-claire-samaaa…”

Loretta turned back to face me, tears welling up in her eyes.
It appears this insolent commoner was a bad matchup for someone as pure and noble as Loretta.

“Commoner… don’t you think you’re getting a bit too carried away? I have no words to offer the likes of you.
Besides, don’t you know those words are meant to bid someone adieu―”

Recently, even nobles had begun to use our language more loosely.
The amount of people expressing things vulgarly had certainly increased, it was an ongoing issue and was of great concern to me.
While I should have no obligation to lecture this commoner on such a basic subject, I couldn’t just leave her be, or she could end up corrupting the academy’s morals.
With no other choice, I reluctantly informed her of the proper use of our proud language.

“Even though you said you had no words for someone like me, you spoke to me anyway, and went out of your way to give a very thorough explanation too.
That’s exactly the Claire-sama that I love!”

Th-There she is again spouting such nonsense!

“Th-That again! Are you teasing me!?”
“Absolutely!”
“A whole-hearted affirmation!?”

So she has just been teasing me after all!

“Rei, have some self restraint.
Good morning, Claire-sama.”

Like a mother cat pulling her kitten back with her mouth, Misha grabbed the commoner’s collar.
Surely if someone as sensible as Misha were holding the reins, the commoner would be kept in line.
Just as I felt that sense of relief,

“Misha, let go! I’m in the middle of playing Claire-sama.”
“Could you at least say that you’re playing ‘with’ me!?”

What does she mean that she was playing me! No, not that I’d want to play with someone like her either.

“I’m telling you… that’s enough.”

Misha hit the commoner on the head.
Go on Misha, that’s not nearly enough.

“Misha… really, if you’re going to keep a cat, you must make sure she’s properly disciplined.”
“But Claire-sama, it’s not as though I’m keeping Rei as my pet.”
“If it was up to me, I’d like to be Claire-sama’s pet!”
“Could you just be quiet, even for just a bit!?”

There’s just no getting through to her! How is she able to plow through everything with just that flippant attitude of hers? Not to mention, out of all people, she does it in front of me!

“Claire-sama, why do you seem so down? The day’s just getting started, so cheer up!”
“Who’s fault do you think that is!? I’m fine so just leave me be!”
“Ehh…”

Though I tried to shoo her away, the commoner paid no heed.
Aaargh, how infuriating!

“Seems like your day is getting off to an interesting start.”

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It was at that time that a soft tenor resonated.

“Yuu-sama…”
“Good morning, Claire.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen you lose your composure.”

The one who entered the conversation with a fun giggle was none other than the kingdom’s third prince, Yuu Bauer-sama.
He had soft, wavy blonde hair, and a kind, cheerful smile.
While his features were gentle, it was clear that he also possessed dignity and grace befitting his status as royalty.
That said, he never made a big deal out of his status and was quite easygoing.
These traits made him especially popular among the ladies.

I couldn’t believe that I had allowed myself to show Yuu-sama such a disgraceful exchange.
Slightly flustered, I felt the need to explain.

“Yuu-sama, you’ve got it all wrong! This commo… Rei-san was acting out of line so I was just giving her some advice.”
“Is that so?”

Yuu-sama addressed Rei, trying to catch her attention.

“Not at all.
How could my actions, filled with love, possibly be impolite?”
“What are you even saying!?”
“Ahaha.”

How could she say such nonsense in front of not only me, but Yuu-sama, of all people! She’s a commoner! Does she even realize that she’s in front of royalty!?

Even with Yuu-sama’s relaxed nature, I was sure that the commoner’s outlandish words would upset him.
Instead, to the contrary, he only seemed even more interested.

“Rei Taylor was it.
If I recall, you entered the academy at the top of your class.
I had assumed that you’d only be interested in your studies, but you turned out to be quite the interesting one.”

Yuu-sama offered her a kind smile but it was wasted on her.

“Thanks, I guess.”

Though she received Yuu-sama’s smile, a smile that had captured the hearts of many noble ladies, the commoner did not appear happy in the slightest.
And if that weren’t enough, her response to him was cold and curt.

“Rei, you’re being rude.
Good morning, Yuu-sama.”

Misha lightly rebuked the commoner before greeting Yuu-sama herself.

“Ah, Misha! Morning.”

Directing his attention toward Misha, Yuu-sama gave her a friendly greeting.
While Yuu-sama was generally kind to everyone, he was especially so to Misha.
It was because of their long standing relationship as childhood friends.
The two had actually been quite close before House Yule collapsed.
So close in fact, that it was rumored that the young Misha had once held feelings for Yuu-sama.
Of course, all of that was now but a distant dream.

“I apologize for Rei’s conduct.
I’ll make sure I talk to her about it later.”
“I really don’t mind.
I mean, all of the students at the academy are equal, so if anything, you’re the one that should loosen up.”
“… I’ll give it some thought.”

Even as those two shared what seemed to be a meaningful exchange,

“Claire-sama, what do you think? Could the embers have been rekindled?”
“You… How is every thought that you have so vulgar…?”

Hey, isn’t Misha your friend? She’s being burned by a love that cannot blossom… couldn’t you be just a little more considerate to her?

“Yo, Yuu, Claire, morning to the rest of you too.”

A handsome man with short black hair gave an energetic greeting.

“Good morning, Rodd-sama.”
“Morning, nii-san.”

The man’s name was Rodd Bauer-sama.
He was our kingdom’s first prince and Yuu-sama’s older brother.
As the first in line to succeed the throne, he was effectively the next king.

“Hey, what’s going on? Is it something interesting? Count me in!”

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Laughing loudly, Rodd-sama casually barged into our conversation.

“There’s nothing about this that is interesting.
Simply put, there’s one individual here that seems prone to disrupting the academy’s discipline.”
“Oh, could it be? Are you volunteering to disrupt them with me? Do you want to have the honors, or shall I?”
“Neither!?”

What insolence to display in front of the next king! Worried that I’d be lumped in with her, I frantically refused.

“… What’s her deal?”

Rodd-sama gave the commoner a blank stare.
Shortly after though, his gaze shifted to one of curiosity, as though looking at rare wildlife.

“It’s Rei Taylor, you know, the scholarship student that entered the academy this year at the top of her class.
Don’t you think she’s interesting?”

Yuu-sama chuckled as he introduced the commoner.
Normally, proper manners would dictate that she introduce herself.
This is why commoners need proper discipline…

“True, you wouldn’t be able to find someone like her among our usual crowd.
Hah, the old man’s new policy really led to some funny results.”
“Ha…”

Any normal human being would have felt honored to even have the opportunity to talk to a prince… And yet, even though Rodd-sama had expressed interest in her, her response showed no enthusiasm.

“What a novel reaction.
Rei, huh… I’ll remember you.”
“Gee, thanks.”
“Rei, that’s disrespectful.”
“Do you even understand how many people there are competing for Rodd-sama’s attention…?”

Just leaving a positive impression on royalty in and of itself was a formidable weapon within high society… How could this commoner not even know something as simple as that?

“Sein, come here and join us.”
“… I’m fine.”

The moment I heard that melancholic voice respond to Rodd-sama’s call, I felt my heartbeat accelerate.
The voice came from a young man who normally sat in the very back of the lecture hall.
The man whom I secretly held feelings for was right there.

“I don’t think Sein-nii-san likes this kind of thing.”
“I’d really like to know what he would like.”

Paying no heed to Yuu-sama’s troubled smile or Rodd-sama’s bitter expression, I found myself glancing past them.

Sein-sama was the kingdom’s second prince.
He was handsome, but he had a cold exterior, a gloomy aura, and was known for his difficult personality.
But all of these qualities appealed to my maiden heart.
He truly was the polar opposite of that vulgar commoner.

“Sein-sama…”

Even just the simple act of saying his name caused my heart to race.
I knew that my feelings were one-sided and that I was just one of many other nobles to him… But that was fine for now.
I was sure that as we spent more time together in the academy that I’d find opportunities to tie together our loose ends.

“Hey, Claire-sama, aren’t you going to talk to him?”

As such thoughts continued to spin within my head, the commoner just casually said something like that.
I felt my heart bursting out of my chest! Could this commoner have actually realized my feelings? Just from that? Th-There’s no way!

“W-why should I?”
“I mean… you like him, don’t you?”

I was shell shocked.
My innermost feelings were put directly into words in a public setting.
Having Sein-sama learn about my feelings in a public setting without even a trace of romance in the air was certainly not a case that I had considered.
Ideally, I would’ve wanted something like a romantic night out on the beach.
Just the two of us, staring endlessly into each other’s eyes―so for it to happen like this, so far removed from the night I dreamed of… was the pinnacle of disappointment!

Driven by that panic,

“Y-You’re wrong! Sein-sama is nothing to me!”

Those words echoed through the lecture hall and I regretted it immediately.
By the time that realization sank in, it was already too late.

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“…”

Standing up, Sein-sama maintained his cold and indifferent expression as he left the lecture hall.

“Ah… What should I do…? I… didn’t mean to…”

What should I do, what should I do? What if my slip causes Sein-sama to hate me? Sein-sama, you’ve got it all wrong… Sein-sama, I actually―!

“Claire-sama, I think you should go and apologize.”
“…! How dare a commoner speak to me as if they know better!

Come to think of it, this commoner was ultimately the root cause!

“Claire-sama.”

Just as I was about to vent my malice, the commoner looked at me with a serious expression unlike one that I had ever seen from her before.
In the face of such sudden earnesty, I unwittingly shrank back.

“Wh-What is it…?”
“Sein-sama is sensitive.”
“Hmph, you think I don’t know that?”

Sein-sama has a very tender heart.
That’s why I needed to be the one to support him.

“That’s why, you need to apologize.”
“… Could you give it a rest!”

Slamming the desk in front of me I forced myself up and hardened my resolve.

“I’m sick of this! I’ll be taking my leave for the day!”
“Ah, Claire-sama!”
“Could you just leave me be!”

Without giving Pipi or Loretta the opportunity to follow me, I quickly left the lecture hall.
I had but one goal, to clear up my misunderstanding with Sein-sama.

“Sein-sama! Please wait!”

Momentarily disregarding my manners, I ran through the academy’s hallways and caught up to Sein-sama by the academy’s exit.
When he turned to face me, I saw his tense expression.
While such an expression wasn’t unusual for him, seeing it close and personal put me at a loss for words.

“… What?”
“Uhm… I…”
“… If it’s nothing in particular, I’m going home.”

Sein-sama turned and was about to leave.
If I didn’t resolve our misunderstanding right here, right now, he may never give me the opportunity again.
Even though I knew that, not a single word came to my mind.

Argh! If only I could be as honest and speak my feelings as openly as that commoner!

『Claire-sama, I love you.』

At that moment, her absentminded dumb look flashed in the back of my mind.

“Sein-sama, I love you!”
“…?”

Surprised by the words that had unwittingly flown out of my mouth, Sein-sama reflexively stopped and turned back to face me.
He was clearly skeptical and was now on guard.
Oh me, oh my! Just what have I…!

“Ah, uhm… so… that misunderstanding, yes, that was all a misunderstanding!”
“…“

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Now that it’s come to this I’m left with no other choice.
Before I had the opportunity to think things through, my mouth had already opened.
Aah… this makes it seem like I’m no better than that commoner!

“When I said that you were nothing to me, I didn’t mean it that way.
I really, truly, had no intention to make it sound as though I hate you…”
“…”
“If anything… it’s the opposite, I… Sein-sama…”
“…”
“Please, I’m at my limits, I ask that you forgive me.”

Even as I strained myself for words, I felt a tear forming in the corner of my eye.
That I, Claire François, who had continued to act as a dignified noble would be reduced to such a shameful state… absolutely disgraceful.
This and that, it’s all that bloody commoner’s―!

“… I see.
Got it.”
“Hm?”
“… It appears that I misunderstood as well.
Forgive me.”

As he spoke those words, Sein-sama seemed to smile.
While it was a little thin, it was definitely visible.

“Y… Yes, of course!”
“… You’re…”
“Claire! I’m Claire François!”
“… I see, Dor’s daughter.”
“Y-yes!”
“… You have some courage.”
“Eh?”

Courage?

“… Having to go out of your way to try and explain it must be embarrassing as a lady.
Yet, in spite of that, you called out to me.”
“That’s… But I mean, I couldn’t stand it if you misunderstood…”
“… Yeah.
You showed kindness even toward someone like me.
Thanks.”
“Not at all! Truly, it’s my honor!”

As I expressed my gratitude as a proper vassal, Sein-sama again smiled.
Then, as he approached me, he said,

“… Claire, you’re a good woman, perhaps too good for someone like me.”

Eh, eh!?

“…”

He stopped right in front of me and gazed directly into my eyes.
My head emptied of all thoughts as I found myself captivated in his gaze.

“…ck”
“Ah, sorry what?”
“… Let’s head back.”

Giving me a light pat on the shoulder, Sein-sama began walking back toward the academy.

“Yes!”

As I chased after Sein-sama, I felt my heart filling up.
Though I was initially worried, it seemed as though things turned out for the better.
In my panic I had acted a bit recklessly, but all’s well that ends well!

Hmph.
I guess it couldn’t hurt to be just a little thankful toward that commoner!

Translator Comment: I had been curious what had happened between the two after she went to chase him! Glad to finally be able to find out.
I love Claire for not downplaying Rei’s part in all of this and recognizing it…!

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