That night, after returning from the Sprought estate, I was in my room with my arms crossed, deep in thought.
Navre’s account gave me a lot to think about. The adoration that they had for Lady Ryeini, especially Al, makes sense for the ferocity of their actions but I still can’t help but think about what Lady Ryeini’s intentions were.
I’ve learned a lot about her. From what I know of her now I don’t believe she is the type of person to be planning anything—in other words, Al’s deplorable actions were entirely their fault. The only way Al can recover from this situation is by his own actions.
“… Will you be alright, Al?”
I’d be pissed if Al wasn’t trying to make amends. I’d be in trouble if there was no competition for the throne. The way I see it, I’d be the downfall of this kingdom if I succeed the throne.
That said, regardless of whether Lady Ryeini had any involvement in the plot against Euphie, she too was forced into the situation. That alone was something that no one should want to bear.
“Hmm… maybe I should meet up with her, at least once.”
About 80% of my suspicion towards Lady Ryeini had been dispersed. Navre didn’t seem like he was coaxed into his actions by Ryeini so the main problem seemed to have befallen Al.
Oh, Al… if this love affair of yours continues to cloud your judgement, then that means I will be the one to inherit the throne. That’s a horrifying future. I don’t want to be queen.
“I just want to spend my life studying magic and making magic tools…” I sighed out loud. This uncertain future made me feel uneasy, like sludge clinging onto me. I considered going to sleep early but my mind was acting strange.
What is this tugging at the corners of my mind? Am I seriously considering becoming queen? Do I really want to know the truth of this situation? It’s such a tricky situation, it’s like I’m just going around in circles…
“Lady Anise, are you still awake?”
I snapped out from my reverie and turned my attention towards the knocking at my door. I quickly headed over and opened it and found Euphie who looked like she was just about to go to sleep.
“Euphie? Is something wrong?”
“Do you have a minute?”
“Sure, what’s up?”
I invited Euphie in and offered a chair reserved for guest—I was suddenly reminded of my conversation with Navre for a moment.
“Do you want anything to drink? I can get us tea prepared.”
“If that would be alright.”
I had some magic tools in my room that specialized in making tea. It’s not as good as the one Illya can make but I like using it because it’s easy and quick to use.
Father also requested the same build for his personal use. I’m not sure if it’s safe to use long term, nor do I think it’s in a state where I can easily mass-produce it, but I’m looking forward to the day where it is readily available to the general public.
I sat myself down after having prepared us tea.
“So? What’s up?”
“Where was Lady Anise today?” Euphie asked, her eyes bearing at me. I took in a breath and took a sip from the tea I prepared.
What should I have said? Should I have told Euphie I was listening to the rumours around the academy? I didn't want her to feel bad about it. I wanted to be mindful… but I also wanted to be honest with her. She’s involved so it’s inevitable she’d find out.
“I went to the Sprought estate. I met with Navre.”
Euphie had a look of surprise when she heard what I did. I knew that bringing up Navre would be a sensitive topic for her and yet I brought it up anyway.
“For a couple of reasons. I wanted to know what he did, why he did them, and if there was a possibility that he was manipulated into doing his actions—that kind of stuff.”
“Why would Lady Anise…?”
“Although the issue of the throne’s succession was forced onto me, I couldn’t leave these matters unfinished. I’ve started my investigation with the head of the Sprought estate and took the time to hear them out. Somehow, I’m still not as close to the truth as I’d like.”
“… and how much of your suspicions have been cleared?”
“About 80%, I guess?” I replied as I took another sip of tea. Euphie was silent for a bit but soon mustered what she wanted to say.
“How was Lord Navre?”
“When I went to go talk to him, he was depressed. He seemed to understand the repercussions of his actions when I explained the situation thoroughly to him. Although, even if he manages to reflect upon his actions, it’s up to him to decide on what to do next.”
“I see…” Euphie’s voice trembled, and her expression remained dark. As I thought, she still wasn’t over it. After all, it hasn’t been long since the incident and barely anything was resolved.
“… I don’t understand this lovesickness.”
“I know it’s like a fever, but I don’t know how to treat it because I don’t know what it feels like. At best, I can only say gesundheit.”
“Do you think falling in love is like a disease?”
“In the sense that your mind doesn’t function normally, yes. It’s a disease that has no cure.”
Being in love is like having your emotions overflow. It’s such a strong feeling – one that you can’t hold back. That’s what makes it so tricky. Although, I’ve never experienced it before so that’s just my opinion of it.
"It’s annoying, honestly.”
“I don’t think Lady Anise should be calling things annoying…”
“Oh, um. My bad. Well… I suppose if you say that I’m in love with magic, I can’t argue with that. Actually… I guess you could say I’m smitten by magic.”
“Do you think there is a difference between love and infatuation?”*
“Uh, I don’t think so. It’s all pretty subjective.”
Infatuation is like an intense fever that fills your heart with excitement to the point where you can’t stop thinking about it.
Compared to love? I think it’s something that becomes. Something that simply exists.
“I think love is something that happens naturally. Loving someone, or something, is natural. Because it happens naturally, you must be aware of it to notice it, and when you realize that you’re in love, it deepens. I think that love is like the truth, in that regard."
“People can live without love, but if they have love they will flourish. If you can feel fulfilled by something intangible, like love, then I think love is a wonderful thing.”
People don’t need love. Even so, people cannot cut ties with one another because, in some capacity or another, we are capable of love.
Because we are born with a heart, it is natural to love. However, for love to bear fruit, we must pursue it and, without acknowledging it, we may not even recognize it as love.
Infatuation can be the start of true love. Although I can’t talk about love, I can say that my infatuation with things is what made me who I am.
“… I can’t tell if Lady Anise is an idiot or a genius.”
“That’s unexpectedly rude.”
There’s a saying that there’s a fine line between stupidity and genius, although I’m not one to talk. Navre, I think, figured it out from our conversation.
I let out a sigh as I stared at Euphie’s expression. She weakly giggled as her eyes sorrowfully cast down. I couldn’t help but stare at her pained expression, but Euphie quickly forced a bitter smile once she noticed I was staring.
“I’ve been thinking… is it okay for me—for me to live on being treated this well?
“Was that why you wanted to talk to me?”
“I thought Lady Anise would give me the answer.”
“Of course I’d answer. Euphie’s talent and hard work have won me over. It’s a privilege you deserve. Something that Al, Navre, or even Lady Ryeini doesn’t have.”
“Thank you. I… know that it’s important to stop and rest, but… it’s been too good for me; it feels so uncomfortable.” Euphie grimaced as she ran her thumb along the rim of her cup. “That’s why I’ve been thinking… I was worried about where you went today. Ever since I returned, I worry that my presence has just been a bother. You’ve done so much for me and for that I’m deeply sorry…”
“Euphie, you don’t have to apologize. You’re the victim here.”
“No… I must have been at fault at times, otherwise, things wouldn’t have spiralled like this, right?”
“I… can’t deny that.”
I didn't think Euphie was entirely at fault, although she was a major driving force. Euphie simply thought she was doing the right thing by becoming a Queen who wouldn’t be swayed by her emotions. I didn’t think she was wrong for trying to do so, but she should have communicated it better so people could understand her.
However, Al should have tried to understand. He should have done his due diligence, considering his position as the throne’s heir and her fiancée, but that doesn’t mean the entire fault should lay squarely on his shoulders.
“In the end…”
“Maybe I don’t want to give up on the possibility that it’s someone else’s fault.”
I wish that everyone strived to make others happy.
But I think that such a lofty dream is impossible as the fact of the matter is that people don’t understand each other. I know that all too well. I won’t dream—I won’t hope for it anymore. I can’t say that I haven’t felt that way before.
There are many people who don’t understand each other. The reality is that things are always out of our control. Sometimes, I’d feel completely hopeless… but then I’d remember my old dream.
“Magic, as you know, was my dream. I thought that I could make everyone happy with magic. That’s what I thought… I believed in. That’s what I still want to believe in. Maybe that’s why I’m so obsessed with magic. But the reality isn’t so kind.”
“Ahaha… sorry. I didn’t mean to make you listen to me rambling about myself. It seems I’ve been stockpiling a lot of these frustrating emotions.”
I didn’t have people I can talk to about matters like this, so these thoughts tend to fester in my mind a lot. Usually, I’d be able to push the negativity away by focusing on my research, but it doesn’t seem like I could run away anymore.
Until Al becomes the King, or if I become the Queen… the problem of who ascends the throne must be addressed—for the sake of this kingdom.
“It’s all out of our control.”
The tea tasted a bit bitter, but it was just right of my current mood.
＊ ＊ ＊
“As I thought, the reason I’ve been feeling so depressed lately is because I haven’t been getting enough stimulation!”
“You sound like you’re in a good mood, princess.”
When I woke up that morning, with a clear head, I thought to myself, it’s time to relieve some stress!
Of course, it’s important to take care of the basics and, at the moment, Euphie was still struggling to stand center stage, which is why I’ve made sure not to cause too much of a disturbance.
I was thinking I was living life a bit too quietly. You got to live life by fulfilling your desires day by day!
Viva research! Yes, let’s study something new! Let’s ignore all the things I don’t like and immerse myself in research!
“And that is why I come to you girls. Got any good ideas?”
“To expect us to answer so suddenly…”
“I’m afraid I won’t be able to offer a bizarre enough answer than you can supply yourself, princess.”
What do you mean, bizarre? Bizarre, pft. An idea can blossom from even the simplest of words.
However, right now I wanted to try something new. What would be the best way for me to discover something I’ve never done before?
“What are you working on right now? A flying magic tool, a magic sword used for self-defence, my Arc en Ciel, your dragon engravings, and a few other everyday items used in the palace… to name a few.”
“That’s about all I can recall.”
To create a daily-use magic tool with the intent of making life more convenient; although they were currently being used in this remote palace exclusively, they were no plans for mass-production. The reason for that was that there would likely be a huge demand for convenient products, and I had to make extra sure that they are safe. Otherwise, my budget wouldn't be able to support all the backorders.
If a magic tool is used every day, the possibility of injuries and accidents increase. As a result, I must remove as much of them as possible and the only way for me to discover them is by thorough research.
“I want to fly, make life easier, and make cool things… and so far, I’ve been fulfilling a lot of these dreams. However, lately, I can’t seem to come up with anything new. Don’t you want to step into a new world of possibilities?”
“I don’t like that tone, Euphie!”
“You say that but…” Euphie nervously forced a smile as if she in trouble.
“Allow me to offer a few opinions.”
“Oh? What do you got for me, Illya?”
“I’d rather not be forced to come up with ideas suddenly and enable your behaviour, but thanks to Lady Euphilia’s presence, we can look into filling in what the princess has been lacking.”
“Are we still talking about magic?”
“Yes. The princess has magic but can’t use it—that’s a common fact, correct? All of the magic tools created by the princess are designed to compensate, simulate, or to amplify magic, however, they all have one thing in common.”
“What would that be?” Euphie asked, curiously tilting her head to the side.
That was something I was thinking about as well, with only one thing coming to mind.
“Good question. Euphie, go answer her.”
“Wha!? Um… what do all the tools have in common, you say?”
“My apologies… I don’t know. To reiterate, you want me to tell you what all these flying tools, the Arc en Ciel, and all these magic tools in the palace have in common?”
“Hm. I suppose I can say that the Arc en Ciel is an exception.”
“An exception, you say. This makes things even more confusing…” Euphie’s brows scrunched up in frustration.
“I feel bad for putting this on Euphie, could you just tell her the answer?”
“Sure. The answer is that they are all simple.”
“In other words, each tool has a singular function that serves the user. The Arc en Ciel is an exception to this rule, although I suppose you could argue otherwise if you suggest that the tool is simply a catalyst meant to support Lady Euphilia’s magic.”
“That’s true. If it was made for that purpose singular purpose, then wouldn’t that be considered a natural thing?
“I can certainly agree with that. Aside from magic tools that serve to make magic more effective, ‘tools that attempted to replicate magic didn’t exist so they must be made’, Lady Euphilia. The princess cannot use magic, and so putting it into practice was impossible.”
I softly exhaled as Euphie appeared to finally understand what Illya was trying to convey.
“The fact that you can use magic is useful. Furthermore… if you start thinking up more complicated magic tools with multiple functions, I’m sure the princess will begin to draft prototypes. However, the princess will not use them.”
“Because it will not be easy to use. It is better to make something simple and easy to understand—is that not right, princess?”
“But that’s not what the princess wants. The princess wants to use magic freely. If she wanted to, she’d have already made such a magic tool. But you haven’t, why is that?
“Because ‘magic is dangerous’, right?”
“If there is a magic tool that is capable of many things, then it’s possible that it can be used for something you didn’t intend.”
“Yeah. That’s exactly it.”
Let’s take the Mana Blade, for example. There are a few derivatives that were created but ultimately it was meant to be used as a sword. The same goes for all the other magic tools used in the palace and, of course, the flying magic tools were made for flying.
It was partly because it made it easier to design—the more complex the build the more confusing they will be to handle. This was a must if the magic tool were to be mass-produced. Unpopular designs would eventually descend into obscurity.
Another reason was that it would be easier to convey my intention and thus prevent misuse.
If my magic tools were used by someone with bad intentions, I wouldn’t know what purpose they would be used for. From my previous life, dynamites are a perfect example.
It was originally used for construction work. No doubt dynamites greatly served the people who used them but during times of war they were used as devastating weapons. I must believe that my magic tools will suffer the same fate.
The Mana Blade is also a very dangerous tool. I intend for it to be used for self-defence, but I’d have to be delusional to think that an assassin wouldn’t use it for dark purposes. That is why I want to eliminate these types of possibilities as much as possible.
“The princess may be a troublemaker with a bad personality and horrible common sense—"
“—but that is not her entire character. In any case, the intention of these tools wasn’t meant to inconvenience others. As mentioned earlier, Arc en Ciel is an exception to the princess’ usual designs.
“That’s true. Arc en Ciel serves both as a magic sword and staff.”
“It was not meant to be used by the princess or anyone else. Only you, Lady Euphilia.”
“There’s a difference between mass-production and custom-made, after all.”
My dragon markings were different, too. That technology was not meant for anyone but me.
“You mention mass-production but there haven’t been any tangible plans to do so. I thought it was because there wasn’t an immediate audience for it.”
“That… is also a reason.”
I don’t have the best reputation with magic users. I wasn’t in any friendly relationships with other magic users either, so I had given so I had given up getting into contact with them.
That’s why… this dream to use magic, I want to convey it to everyone so that they can all use magic freely.
“In that case, perhaps we should go back to the original problem.”
“The original problem?”
“To make it so that the princess can freely use magic, that problem.”
My eyes widened as I stared at Illya.
T/N: I trimmed a few things that were redundant such as 'bad guys are bad'.
In previous chapters, the POV is vague enough for me to reliably use third person to make things easier to read, however in this case it is very much written in Anise's point of view. I did my best to make it read naturally in English, but she liberally sprinkles in her internal thoughts, which I try to put in present tense. If any managed to sneak through, whoops.
*I mean to mark this section entirely. In case you didn't see the asterisk I placed earlier, it was during the talk about love. Skip this section if you don't really care but I found it quite interesting and annoying while I was trying to translate;
The original source references ai (愛) and koi (恋), which I translated as 'infatuate' and 'love'. "Why does this matter, you translated it already!" Well, the matter is a bit more complicated than that because it's a bit more philosophical than calling it love and infatuation like we do in English, although it is a close approximation. Koi tends to be passionate and isn't quite shallow compared to infatuation whereas ai is ... difficult. A cursory look at thoughtco.com describes koi as selfish whereas ai is 'true' love. For example, koi is used in hatsukoi (first love) and koibito (girlfriend/boyfriend) while ai can be used in aijin (lover) and aikokushin (a patriot). What's the difference and why does it kind of matter? Koi really means to fall and be in love. Ai is acceptance, to surrender yourself to that love. Thanks for listening to my ted talk.
Anyways. Two month break. Whoops again. I initially intended for a 2 week break or so but got hammered by playing games and spending time with family (in adherence to social distancing). I've also been hired for freelance stuff so that took my priority. Holidays hit and I didn't want to spend the week leading up to it translating so I decided to wait until after New Years, despite going over my estimated month. By the time I was freed up, I didn't have the drive to translate for a while.
I'm back now, but my drive is still a bit lacking. I didn't want to keep you all waiting too long but I can't make any more promises so I won't talk about when a chapter may come out until it's almost done. I have no schedule other than "I hope to get a chapter out in less than two weeks."
I appreciate the people still reading. I'll do my best. The best way to contact me is through my discord server.