Tensei Saki de Suterareta no de, Mofumofu Tachi to Oryouri Shimasu ~Okazari Ouhi wa my Pace ni Saikyou Desu~
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8. The vain struggle of this letter’s owner (Part 1)
『When I told my father about our engagement annulment and your exile, he scolded me, making me realize that I was too harsh and I shouldn’t have behaved in such a manner. It may be too late, but I want to apologize and discuss what our course of action should be from here on out. So, can you meet me tonight? I want you to come to this location to avoid the eyes of the gossiping aristocrats. Make sure to bring no more than one or two servants so we don’t stand out.』
The meeting place designated in the letter was a historical ruin in the western part of the royal capital. It was a quiet corner lined with tilted stone pillars and the ghosts of stone buildings peeking from the ground. It was deserted, illuminated only by the moon at night.
The reason these ruins remained intact was that they were a monument to our country’s once-glorious past. Our country was called the “Kingdom of Eltria,” but it was often called “Small Eltria” by other countries so they could distinguish it from one of the most historic great nations, the “Great Eltrian Empire.”
The Great Eltrian Empire, which had ruled more than half of the Western Continent, still had a vast influence in various places till this day.
The Eltrian language was the most easily understood and used language in the Western Continent to this day. Eltrian and its derivatives were the common tongues in many countries. And it was the language of first choice internationally, just like the English language on Earth.
The influence of the Great Eltrian Empire remained strong throughout the Western Continent. And my country contained the former capital of the Great Eltrian Empire.
The golden age of the Great Eltrian Empire had been about a thousand years ago. Some foolish kings followed, caused the empire to split, and, to keep it short, the result was our country, “The Kingdom of Eltria,” where we lived now.
The territory of the present Kingdom of Eltria was less than one-tenth the size of the Great Eltrian Empire at its prime. The only thing to take pride in was our long history and the high percentage of magicians of the royal and aristocratic classes.
It was a common belief that only one in a hundred has the magical power to become a mage. However, since magic seemed to be hereditary, if the parents were magicians, a greater proportion of their children would be born with excellent magical power.
Incidentally, one’s family lineage greatly influenced one’s magic.
Most of the ruling class of the Great Eltrian Empire had been magic users, and their descendants, the aristocrats of our country, also had a high percentage of mages. That was why our country’s aristocrats valued history and lineage and tended to discriminate against the commoners.
Currently, roughly 20% of our country’s aristocracy were mages. Considering that the fraction of magic users in commoner, aristocratic, and royal classes of other countries was less than 1%, it was a high proportion.
However, even among commoners who didn’t have even a single drop of mage’s blood, a mutation might occur, and someone with a high magical power might be born. It was unlikely, but the number of commoners was big.
Even if the likelihood was 0.1% or less, as long as the population size was large, a reasonable number of magic users would be expected.
“It seems that the other party has arrived, Milady.”
Upon Lucian’s whispering, I refocused on my surroundings and stared at the approaching figure.
“Good day. As I thought, it was you.”
It wasn’t Fritz who came, but a girl with chestnut hair.
It was Sumia.
“…What do you mean?” Sumia asked with a sharp gaze, not bothering to conceal her guarded look. The harsh tone and atmosphere were quite different from the innocent, lovely appearance she held in front of Fritz and the others.
“So, you knew from the start that it wasn’t His Highness Fritz who called you here? Then why did you come?”
“I concluded that you were the sender of the letter. Since I also wanted to talk to you, this was rather convenient.”
“Don’t spout nonsense. The handwriting in the letter was the same as the ones I got from the Prince. I mimicked it exactly, so how did you know that it wasn’t from His Highness?”
“From the letter’s content, of course.”
You wouldn’t think that Fritz would send me an apology letter considering his personality. Fritz’s narrow mind had been worsened by his love for Sumia. It was beyond belief to think that he’d had a change of heart and offered me an apology in such a short time, no matter how much his father—His Majesty—had admonished him.
If that really had been the case and he had recognized his thoughtlessness and then apologized to me so quickly, he wouldn’t have conducted himself so foolishly and publicly pronounced the engagement cancellation and my banishment.
“Sumia, you know His Highness well, don’t you? His Highness wouldn’t send such a laudable letter to me.”
“If it had been a few days ago, I probably would have been fooled by these well-written words, as I was so fixated on being his fiancée. But unfortunately, I currently don’t hold any attachment or feelings for His Highness.”
The shock of regaining my past life’s memories and how foolish Fritz had acted before my eyes caused any lingering affection that I had for him to disappear completely. So it was a given that I would be suspicious at receiving such a letter in these circumstances.
“So, Sumia, what’s your reason for calling me here using His Highness’s name? I have a good idea, but would you get on with it and tell me?”
An air of intimidation enveloped Sumia as she smiled at me. It was quite a surprising and intimidating smile.
I knew that it was unnecessary to keep up the “frail lady” act, but wasn’t this a bit too over-the-top?
“…Tch. Don’t be so full of yourself! Then I’ll say it! Why don’t you relinquish your family’s name and become a commoner?”
“I refuse. Why would I do something like that?”
…To be honest, it wasn’t like I hadn’t thought of throwing away my responsibilities as an aristocrat and living carefree like a commoner after regaining memories of my past life. But, having lived as Leticia for 17 years, as a lady with pride and duties, I understood that it wasn’t something that one could easily throw away.
“Fufu~ You don’t understand, do you? I’m saying this for your sake. If I earnestly ask His Highness and say, ‘I’m afraid of Leticia, can you please reduce her to a commoner for bullying me?’ You know what would happen, right? Don’t you think it would be better for you to step down and become a commoner on your own before that happens?”
Sumia’s triumphant look gave me a little headache. I understood that she saw me as an eyesore, but no matter how you thought about it, this was way too much.
“…Are you serious about this? Reducing me to a commoner for an unjust crime, you’re going all out to pick a fight with the Duke’s household this time for sure. Can’t you imagine what the country would be like if something like that happened?”
“Don’t you know how in love His Highness is with me? If I ask him earnestly enough, he will surely do whatever I want.”
Not being able to refute Sumia’s words was making my head ache. Fritz was a simpleton, and was currently blinded by love. In the matter of my exile, I couldn’t honestly say that he wouldn’t forcefully reduce me to a commoner.
“If you ask earnestly enough, His Highness will probably comply.”
“Right? You understand, right? If so, why don’t obediently become a commoner―”
With a single word, Sumia’s smiling face stiffened.
“You said you were born and raised in the royal capital, but isn’t it a lie? Your real hometown is Niltz, a small village in the Barony, right?”
I received only silence in answer to my questions. But the distorted expression on Sumia’s face seemed to speak louder than words, confirming what I said.
“That’s not the only lie you’ve told. There was also your outrageous lie about your blood relation to the baron’s household. Both of your parents are fully-fledged commoners, aren’t they?”
“…How did you! How do you know about that!”
“Because I thought it was strange from the start.”
The key point was the hereditary nature of magic.
“Magical power of this quantity and nature depends heavily on one’s bloodline. But neither your father who’s supposedly a baronet, nor your ancestors, nor any blood relatives could use light magic like yours.”
“…What’s so strange about that! There are cases where children with an affinity for light magic were born despite there being no light magic users in their families!”
“I don’t deny that mutations do occur…but don’t you think there are too many unnatural points?”
“First, you, a user of the rare light magic, happened to be born into the baron’s family bloodline out of nowhere. Second, until you turned 13 years old, aristocratic society didn’t know about your existence at all. Third, you, simply the daughter of a baron with no education in aristocracy and no special knowledge of social etiquette, were able to get close to His Highness Fritz.”
The illegitimate child of an aristocrat raised as a commoner and in actuality very talented, who then meets the prince and falls in love—that was a simple pattern that I had seen used in works of literature many times in my previous life, but to be confronted by it in real life, one couldn’t help but find it extremely shady.
“Separately they might be unusual but not unlikely to happen, but it’s only natural to suspect something is up when the coincidences keep piling up, right?”
More than likely, the instigators of this series of events were the Baron and crafty four-eyes Ileus’s father, the Duke of Ilegar. The Duke, who had always politically opposed my household, probably thought it was unfavorable that I was His Highness’s fiancée.
Then the Duchy of Ilegar received a report from their distant relatives, the Baron’s family, that they had found a girl with an affinity to rare light magic. They then lied and called the girl the Baron’s daughter, advertised her as the second coming of the holy saint, and with the Duke’s backing, had her approach Fritz.
…I thought that they had most likely carried out the scheme knowing how hopeless it was from the start. But for better or worse, Fritz was deceived by Sumia’s innocent and adorable girl act and fell in love with her.
Up until then, it had gone according to the Duke of Ilegar’s plans. However, I assumed that neither they nor crafty four-eyes had expected the subsequent engagement annulment that happened in public.
It was just a guess, but it must have been Sumia’s idea to make Fritz believe that I was the one who had pushed her down the stairs. Sumia probably wanted to get rid of me, who she saw as an eyesore, as quickly as possible. That was why she made up such a baseless lie consulting neither the Ilegar house nor crafty four-eyes.
As a result, Fritz, who believed her words, recklessly went and broke off our engagement right in public.
…I was just guessing, but I believed that I was not far off the mark.
It was amusing how crafty four-eyes was rather agitated that day. So, it was natural to think that he hadn’t expected that to happen.
“That’s why I was suspicious of you from the start. Then, upon doing some investigating, I came across Niltz village and your real background.”
“…You say it as if it’s quite simple.”
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