Last chapter ended on a bit of a confusing note, so here’s a reminder:
A. Autumn – Nastasia visits Lihilt’s territory.
B. Beginning of winter – Albert and friends visit Lihilt’s territory.
The main story is at B, but at the ending of last chapter, we moved to A, making this a flashback chapter.
Nastasia gave Lihilt, who came out to greet her, a ladylike smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Viscount Lihilt Strahm.”
Lihilt, at a complete loss for words, found himself unable to respond immediately.
But Nastasia didn’t find it unpleasant. It happened all too frequently for her to think of it as such.
Everyone who met her for the first time reacted the same, regardless of gender.
Her face was the very embodiment of beauty. She was so striking, in fact, that not a single person in the country—better yet, in all of the country’s history—could hope to match her looks.
She was adorned in a first-class dress made by seasoned artisans, with her waist-length, golden hair tied up into a braid.
Some called her a living, breathing sculpture crafted by God himself, and for good reason.
“…My name is Lihilt Strahm! I-It’s a pleasure to meet you too! I’m honored to make your acquaintance, Ms. Nastasia!” Lihilt came back to his senses and frantically returned her greeting, then hurriedly withdrew his outstretched hand. “It’s rather cramped, but please make yourself at hoM—?!”
Nastasia reached out and grabbed Lihilt’s hand. “Why do you retract your hand, Viscount Strahm?”
“Well, I, uh, simply thought it would be rude for a low-level noble such as myself to…”
“Perish the thought, Viscount.” Nastasia flashed a bright smile. “Provided that your heart remains loyal to the King and his kingdom, I will always hold you in high regard. I sincerely thank you for your unwavering devotion.”
“Oh, o-of course… Thank you very much…” Lihilt nodded, his face beet red.
Nastasia released his hand and continued, “One more thing, Viscount.”
“You referred to this place as ‘rather cramped.’ This land is managed personally by royality—that is to say, it’s owned by the royal family. Do you not find it problematic to call one of the King’s belongings cramped?”
“…AH!” Lihilt grimaced, deeply distressed.
“Worry not, I won’t tell this to the King.” A small smile formed on Nastasia’s lips. “Anyhow, shall you lead the way? Or perhaps I should instead, Viscount?”
“Aha, ahahahaha…” Lihilt scratched his head, a troubled look on his face.
The next day, Nastasia and co. boarded their high-speed carriage and headed off for the Count’s territory.
“Safe travels, Princess!” Lihilt said, seeing them off as he waved his hand.
Nastasia waved back at him with a smile.
The door closed, and the carriage began moving.
By the time they exited the town, Nastasia called out to one of her personal maids, “Shouldn’t it be fine by now?”
“…I suppose so.”
The moment Nastasia heard her response, she sprawled into her seat and kicked her feet up, a look of complete listlessness on her face.
“Haaaah… Acting like royalty is so exhausting…” she groaned, audibly sighing.
Anyone who met the picture-perfect princess version of her would cry out in horror after seeing her now.
This was how Nastasia Valentine really was.
It was part of her role as royalty to act like a perfect little princess, but deep down, she hated being shackled and would much rather be free to do as she pleased.
If she’d been born a regular citizen, she’d likely have been an adventurer by now, given her personality.
“It never gets any less depressing when I see you like this, Princess,” the maid grumbled with a sigh.
When the maid was first employed, she constantly reprimanded Nastasia for her behavior, but she soon realized she was just wasting her breath.
Nastasia uncaringly snapped back at the maid’s sarcastic retort. “Just be glad I only do this now. I’d pretty much be immaculate if I didn’t have this one flaw, wouldn’t you say?”
That phrase just about summed up the type of person Third Princess Nastasia was.
“Haaaah… Seriously, what a drag… I hate being in the castle, so I thought this would’ve been a nice trip away from home, but it’s still a pain in the ass… So is being royalty… Pretending to be pristine all the time is so difficult… How about we just ditch this joint and go home, Rio?”
“If you weren’t royalty, I’d have smacked you by now, you know?” replied the maid she called Rio with a smile. She looked to be in her twenties.
Next to her sat one other maid named Mio. Their faces looked nearly identical, like two carbon copies.
Rio and Mio were twin maids. They were two peas in a pod, from their light purple hair and handsome faces.
One of their only differences was that Rio had glasses on and Mio didn’t.
Another was their personalities: Rio spoke as much as any other person, but Mio never said a word unless spoken to. Even now, she simply sat in her chair, dead silent.
Nastasia exaggeratedly shuddered her shoulders. “So scaary. Soldiers are so scaary. Violence is a no-no~”
These two weren’t your average maids—the swords sitting at their sides were proof of that.
Rio, face completely dead-pan, answered in a flat tone, “Care to remind me who exactly took a liking to those two soldiers and made them into maids?”
Rio and Mio were initially outstanding female knights. Nastasia, however, had a penchant for the unusual and made the two her personal knight-maid two-in-one combo.
“You persuaded us by saying it’d only be until you got married, and here we are years later…” Rio gave Nastasia the death stare. “Isn’t it about time you fulfilled your end of the deal?”
“…Whatever do you mean by that?”
“That you should hurry the hell up and get married.”
Nastasia froze in place.
Nastasia was already deep into her twenties, so marriage was an urgent matter. For the past several years now, she’d been proposed to around twice a month.
Nastasia always found some sort of excuse to avoid each and every one of them. The only reason she agreed to go on this journey was to escape from home.
“…Jeez… All you had to do was play your cards right with Sir Alencia Luminous…”
“Isn’t he literally dead?! And wasn’t it actually better of me not to, since, you know, he’s deceased?!”
Marriage talks with Alencia proceeded rather seriously. There was tremendous pressure from her father, the King, as he was quite fond of Alencia.
Alencia was also enamored with the idea.
There she was, being courted by an exceptionally handsome man with the talent to single-handedly carry the entire nation on his back.
However, Nastasia used every single trick in the book to steer clear of Alencia, leaving his marriage proposal up in the air.
“But even if he was alive!” Nastasia lifted a finger and declared, “I still wouldn’t say yes!”
She then went on a long-winded rant, “Those noble girls always say stuff like ‘EEEP, IT’S SIR ALENCIA~!’ with sparkles in their eyes, but how can you seriously be that blind?! That guy’s rotten to the core! He thinks everyone except himself is garbage!”
“Are you… sure about that? Couldn’t you just be assuming that?”
“I am NOT! Assuming things! He can’t fool me! I’ll take anyone on the planet except him! His personality is so unbelievably awful! I can guarantee you he just thought of me as some quick ticket to the royal family, nothing more!”
“…But you liked his face, didn’t you?”
“Well, just his face,” Nastasia agreed with a nod. “But with men, it’s the heart that matters. I don’t need a guy without a single speck of that,” she declared.
Rio chuckled. “I bet Sir Alencia didn’t expect to be bad-mouthed like this after dying.”
“…Well, I do feel sorry for him… No, actually, I don’t feel sorry for him at all. What were you thinking when you thought he was the one, Father? Seriously, Alencia’s the lowest of the low,” Nastasia said without a hint of remorse.
“Then what kind of guy is your type? Assuming he had the same face as Alencia.”
“Huh? Hmmm…” Nastasia put her hand on her chin and sank into thought. “I think… I’d want someone quiet.”
“WHAT?!” Rio recoiled from shock. “But you’re so noisy!”
“So what if I am!? I am SO sorry for yelling so much!” Nastasia lashed back. “I want someone quiet BECAUSE I’m noisy! How are we supposed to hold a conversation if we’re both too loud for our own good?!”
“You’re self-aware, Ms. Nastasia.”
“Shut up!” Nastasia shouted angrily. “Anyway, uh… I’d like him to be resolute… He’d usually be all soft and gentle, but he’s decisive when he needs to be—someone who can really stick to his guns, you know?”
“That is a good point, I do agree.”
“Also, I’d love it if he had some sort of talent—even if it was just one—that no one else could do better than him, not a jack of all trades like Alencia. He can be totally hopeless at everything else, but the coolest at that one thing!”
“…I see.” Rio nodded. “So what you’re saying is, you want a man with Sir Alencia Luminous’ face, but you want him to have a calm and quiet demeanor, and you want him to be decisive, AND you want him to be the best at one particular thing?”
“That about sums it up,” Nastasia replied with a nod.
Rio heaved a heavy sigh and said, “I’m pretty sure that convenient little someone doesn’t exist.”
“I guess not~” Nastasia agreed.
…Well, it’s not like it matters, anyway, Nastasia thought, chuckling in her mind.
Nastasia had no interest in romance in the first place, let alone marriage. There were a plethora of other things more appealing, which Nastasia’s intellect and appetite for the unknown would consume until there was nothing left—and even then, it wouldn’t be enough to satisfy her curiosity.
I was lucky enough to be born a royal. I have all the influence and money in the world, so I gotta enjoy myself while I still can!
Those two sentences encapsulated Nastasia’s outlook on life.
She knew she’d be forced into a political marriage at some point, which meant she’d lose the freedom she has now.
Which is why Nastasia decided: even if that day were to come, she would strive to live her life to the fullest, without leaving behind any regrets.
The high-speed carriage arrived at the Count’s territory.
The castle Count Emghis lived in was on the smaller side, yet it was imposing nevertheless.
Once Nastasia stepped down from the high-speed carriage, a fifty-looking man dressed in a cloak came out from the castle. He was sharp-eyed, had a mustache, and had a firmly built body.
“I bid you welcome to my estate, Third Princess Nastasia,” he said, politely bowing his head. “I am Glade Emghis, feudal lord of this territory.” He extended his right arm without a hint of hesitation. “It’s an honor to meet your esteemed self.”
“It’s a pleasure meeting you too, Count.”
Nastasia flashed her usual ladylike smile and shook Count Emghis’ hand.
…Not long after, Nastasia’s condition took a rapid turn for the worse.
Yeah so I’ve been dead for like 7 months lol, basically I decided to just focus on school and now I graduated, applied to a few jobs and now I’m starting one on 7/18, and I’ve been focusing on improving my Japanese for the jlpt1 in December. Still don’t know what my schedule will be but ill try tuesday/thursday/friday and on the weekend since I’m not home monday/wednesday, when I get my job idk when Ill be able to post but its part time so I should still have time. Anyway I’ll actually start posting semi-regularly now, see you guys next chapter and sorry for not saying anything
ooh~ welcome back! thx for the new chapter
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Thanks for the new chapter!
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When is the next chapter coming😭
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I get off early ftom work today so later tonight