The Palace’s Secret

Sponsored Content

“Hm, so you’re asking what I’d prefer?”

Just before classes at the academy resumed, Rei and I were in audience with Yuu-sama at the palace.
Under normal circumstances, an audience with a prince would require a formal request, followed by a long approval process.
The situation we had at the academy where we could interact with the princes on a regular basis was actually quite the exception.
This time however, we had gone through Lily-sama who had introduced us as people with a solution to Yuu-sama’s condition.
As a result, we were granted special permission for an audience immediately.
From an official standpoint, I was the one who had requested the audience, and Rei was introduced as a “doctor” who possessed a potential solution for Yuu-sama’s problem.

Before actually doing something about Yuu-sama’s problem ourselves, Rei wanted to confirm their intentions.
It seems she had also consulted Misha about this prior to our audience, but that was by proxy and it was often the case that intent was lost when relayed as such.
Rei was absolutely adamant about confirming Yuu-sama’s intentions in person.

“You know that you do not have a choice in the matter, Yuu-sama.”

We wanted to hear Yuu-sama’s candid thoughts, so we requested for the room to be cleared, but as it was a matter that concerned the kingdom’s royalty, our request was denied.
Prime Minister Salas remained here with us, likely to monitor and facilitate our discussion.

Salas-sama then turned to us before continuing,

“While it pains me to say this, it would be problematic if Yuu-sama relinquished his position as prince.
Things have escalated to a level where we cannot allow personal feelings to interfere.”
“I do understand where you are coming from, Salas-sama.
Of course both I and Rei are cognizant of that as well.”

I politely addressed Salas-sama’s concerns.
As royalty, Yuu-sama’s every action could influence the fate of the entire kingdom.
Though my sympathies lay with Rei, as a noble, I more than understood Salas-sama’s perspective as well.

“However, all of those considerations aside, unless we know Yuu-sama’s own wishes in this matter, we won’t be able to give Yuu-sama the emotional support needed even should he commit to being male.”

I pointed out that, especially should Yuu-sama need to force themselves to remain a prince for the sake of our kingdom, certain provisions would be required.
Salas-sama himself was an excellent noble.
So long as things were laid out in a logical fashion, I believed that he would lend an open ear.

“So to summarize, regardless of what gender Yuu-sama must live as, you want to know how he himself feels so that you can provide adequate emotional support, is that right?”
“Yes, that is correct.”

Salas-sama put his hand to his chin, looking rather dignified as he mulled over his thoughts.
He shared the same silver hair and scarlet eyes that Lily-sama possessed, and with his tidy features and slightly cold impression, he had a wide fan base among both nobility and commoners alike.
Even I, being accustomed to seeing beautiful men and women felt that way, so to the average common girl, it would likely have been love at first sight.
Fortunately, I knew that Rei had absolutely no interest in men, which was quite the relief.

… Just what am I feeling relieved about, goodness.

“I do believe that there is some value to what Claire is saying, Yuu-sama.”
“In that case, I suppose I should respond in earnest.”

Now that we had finished our negotiations with Salas-sama, it appeared that Yuu-sama had also decided to be open about how they truly felt.

“Personally… If I could return to being a girl, I really would like to.”

Sponsored Content

“Please don’t make that face Salas, I know.
I don’t really have a choice here, so I’ll live as a male… But, there really isn’t anything that I can do about how I feel inside.”

When Salas-sama put his disappointment on display, Yuu-sama appeared guilty as she replied.

“To the very least right now, once a month, my body returns to that of a lady’s, so I’m just barely able to keep my heart and body in balance.
But if my body were to forever remain male, I’m really not sure I could keep sane.”

Yuu-sama made sure to maintain a strong face as one of the kingdom’s princes, but I could sense, without a doubt, that her words just now came from her heart.

“Claire, Rei, you two came to offer a solution?”

Salas-sama returned his attention to us.

“For this matter, I ask that you allow Rei to speak.”
“I do not mind.
I prioritize the results over someone’s title.”
“Thank you very much, Rei.”
There are two options.”
“What might they be?”

In response to Rei’s words, Salas leaned forward.

“The first is to simply maintain the status quo.”
“… I fail to see how that could be considered a solution in any way.”
“The current situation is a compromise that respects both the palace’s wishes that Yuu-sama remains male, as well as Yuu-sama’s own wish to be female.
I believe the status quo is our best option that allows the two desires to coexist.”
“… What is the other option?”

Salas-sama appeared slightly deflated as he urged Rei to continue.

“The other option… Is to allow Yuu-sama to be female.’
“… Have you been listening to any of what we’ve said? That option has already been ruled―”
“Publicly, Yuu-sama would have to lose their inheritance.”
“You… Just what do you think you’re saying?”

Sponsored Content

Rei continued.

“It is precisely because we must consider Yuu-sama’s position as an heir that things have gotten so complicated.
So, if we free Yuu-sama from those obligations, Yuu-sama should be free to choose.”
“Do you intend for the palace to lay bare such a shameful secret?”
“No, that’s not it at all.
Once Yuu-sama loses their claim to the throne, the palace can then announce that Yuu-sama has fallen ill.
Yuu-sama could take a couple of servants and relocate to the monastery.
This may end up being a little restrictive, but it resolves all of the bodily problems that Yuu-sama is experiencing.”
“Again, do you even understand what you are saying?”

Salas-sama’s voice was as sharp as ever as he spoke.
Rei’s statement had far overstepped the boundaries of what a commoner would be allowed.
Even so, Rei did not stop.

“So… You’re telling me that I must live my life in the confines of the monastery?”
“Simply put… Yes, but you won’t be confined there.
It will inevitably feel that way at first, but once you’ve grown out your hair, if you apply some makeup you should be able to go outside as a high ranking nun.
Fortunately for you, Yuu-sama, your features are already feminine.

In response to Yuu-sama’s wry smile and words, Rei continued her explanation.
Her claim was that though there may be some inconveniences, it should be much better than how things were now.

“You, Rei, was it? What about a treatment fixing Yuu-sama’s body to be permanently male?”
“To my knowledge, there is no such treatment.”
“… You said that you had a way to solve Yuu-sama’s problem.
That is the reason the palace made an exception to allow this audience, but it appears there was no point.”

Salas-sama’s shoulders drooped, but Rei only pressed harder.

“Salas-sama, is it really so wrong to consider an outcome where Yuu-sama can live as her original gender to be a solution?”

Salas-sama responded with surprise to Rei’s use of the feminine pronoun.
It only made sense.
To him, Yuu-sama was male and must remain male.
After a short pause,

“Absolutely not.
The intent of the royal palace is for Yuu-sama to live as a man.”
“Even though there are already two other heirs?”
“Now listen here, Rei Taylor.
You seem to think that Yuu-sama losing his inheritance would be such a trivial thing, but under normal circumstances it is a punishment reserved for the gravest of sins.
We mustn’t simply put Yuu-sama through such a thing.”
“And I believe that forcing her to continue living like this is a much harsher punishment.”

It was at this point I realized that there was something a little off about Rei.
It was very unusual for her to be this invested in others.

“… You’ve overstepped your bounds.
Claire saying so is one thing, but there is no place for you, a mere commoner, to criticize the palace’s decisions.”

Sponsored Content

“Even though Yuu-sama has done no wrong here, are you going to force her to clean up after Lishe-sama’s mess for her entire life?”
“Your audience is over.
Leave, now.”
“… Rei, I appreciate the sentiment, I really do.
Unfortunately, there are some things that you just can’t do anything about.”

Yuu-sama wore a smile as she spoke those words, but appeared as though she could just fade away.
For over ten years now, Yuu-sama had been forced to live as a male, and that culmination of time itself was now forcing her to give up on ever living as a female.

I could sense that our time here was done.

“Rei, we need to go.
Yuu-sama, Salas-sama, thank you for your time.”
“Do not think that there will be a next time.”
“… Duly noted.”

It was clear that Rei had a lot left to say, but I physically dragged her out of the audience room.
Just as we left the palace, it began raining.
We found ourselves at the palace gates, waiting for our carriage.

I let out a deep sigh.

“… Rei… Really just what were you…”
“What, Claire-sama, do you really think it’s okay to let things go on like this!?”

In response to my grumbles, Rei lashed out in anger.
The rain too became increasingly intense.

“I do not.
However, Just as Yuu-sama said, there are just some things that you can’t do anything about.”
“… Claire-sama, did you really just say that? Aren’t you the one who said that you didn’t want to run away from your ideals to be content with reality? Was that all just lip service?”
“… Just when did you become important enough to talk to me like that?”
“It’s not about how important or not I am, none of that matters! But if you can’t even save Yuu-sama alone, expecting to save all the commoners as a whole is surely but a dream!”

When I called out to her in a sharp tone Rei snapped back in surprise.
It seemed she had returned to her senses.

“… My deepest apologies.”
“Just what is it that has you so riled up? This isn’t like you.”

Sponsored Content

“Misaki was like that too… She… No, he was forced to live as the opposite gender.”

Rei’s serious tone left me at a loss for words.
To memory, Misaki was one of the people who came up in Rei’s story about her first love.

“Similar to Yuu-sama, the people around Misaki never understood what he was going through, and he was forced to live as a she, until… He couldn’t take it anymore and killed himself.”

Rei’s face was downcast as she spoke, so I could not see her face.
However, to me, it appeared as though she was crying.

“He didn’t die because his wish was left unheard, ungranted… But because he couldn’t stand that his wish brought trouble to everyone around him.”
“… That’s… A difficult situation.”

Born as a girl, never having once doubted my identity within that, it was impossible for me to even imagine understanding Misaki’s suffering.
Even should I try, I was sure that nothing I could think of even compared to what Misaki had gone through.
But I was sure that Rei―Rei was different.
I was sure that she had made every effort to understand Misaki.
She tried to understand and support Misaki, and at the very end, witnessed her best friend’s life spill to waste.
There was no mistaking that Misaki faced a lot of hardship, but here, right now, my heart broke for Rei.

“In Misaki’s case, there was no possible resolution.
It’s not like she had the opposite sex disease or anything.
But in Yuu-sama’s case, there is a way, and yet―”
“That’s more than enough.
Come here.”

When I said that, Rei clung onto me.
Was her face wet because of the rain, or was it because…

“Even now I still remember.
The image of Kosaki clinging onto Misaki’s coffin during the funeral service.”
“I see.”
“And yet, the people around us… Even her parents only blamed Misaki himself.
Saying that it was Misaki’s fault for being weak, that it was a mistake for him to even suffer that way.”
“I see.”
“Never again… Something like that must never happen again.
Once someone is gone, it’s really just too late.”
“Yes, you’re right.”

At this moment, Rei felt as frail as a whining baby.
I wanted to support her一so, even as her body grew cold in the pouring rain, I embraced her with all of my heart.

The drizzle had at some point become a full on storm, entirely drowning out our voices.
Until our carriage arrived, we remained in a close embrace.

The storm did not let up that day.

Translator Note: Once again regarding the pronouns used… Claire continues to use they/them internally until Yuu herself confirms that her desire is to live as a female.
Unfortunately due to her position and to accommodate public perception, she still refers to Yuu-sama as a male in front of Salas.
Because Salas is… stubborn, shall we say, and needs to follow through with the will of the palace, he insists on referring to Yuu as a male.
It also obviously gets on his nerves when Rei directly refers to Yuu as a female.
The Japanese language doesn’t rely on pronouns as much, and so the original text generally speaking just refers to Yuu by name.
This ends up being rather awkward in English, so I spent some time thinking about how to handle things.

Aaahhhh, Claire cares for Rei so much and it’s so obvious now that we’re able to read her perspective ;~;

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like