Honey trap, she said.
Honey trap, you said, Lady Esmeralda.
“What kind of things are those?”
“Ah, that’s right. I’m sorry, …excuse me for a moment.”
Esmeralda pulls up my skort.
“Wha-What are you doing?”
“Nothing, you said it comes without skort, so I was wondering what it was like inside.”
“Just ask me normally, with your mouth!”
“─ As long as it’s not underwear, why bother? because it will be seen if you fight anyway.”
Her theory is that I should not get embarrassed because I’m not wearing underwear directly under my skort. So, even without skort, there would be no difference. In a way, she is correct.
“so? What this had anything to do with your strategy?”
“Right, first, Alisha took off that skort.”
“That sounds like last resort already.”
“Just listen to me, please. Then you will cover yourself with this cloak.”
At first glance, the cloak looks like a decoration, but it is designed to wrap around the body to cope with cold weather and night camps.
It’s also convenient and easy to move around in.
“Alisha, who has joined the attack force …No, Ms. Ellie will face against Hayato. Aa… Just in case, he knows that Mrs. Ellie is Alisha, doesn’t he?”
“Yes, he found out in an instant.”
“Fufufu… I never realized that; it’s a shame. I wonder how funny it was because I would love to see it.
Ehm… So, back to the topic at hand, I’m sure he could beat the boys, but he wouldn’t be able to hurt Mrs. Ellie.
At least, he would hesitate.”
“… I wonder if that true?”
“I’m sure he will. And while he’s hesitating, you can pretend to give in and approach your fiancée–”
I see… the plan is to let him lower his guard, then take the necklace from him. No, I don’t think such a childish trick will work.
“–This part is important, Alisha. This is where it all begins. When you approach him, spread your cloak out in front of his face and surprise him! and take his necklace.”
No! How could I possibly do such a lewd thing?
The Quinby-three laughed out loud and linked arms with me.
“I’m only joking! I just thought it would be funny… Oh, break time’s over. Why don’t we go to the old school building?”
The four of us, arm in arm, start walking side by side.
They genuinely get along with each other, don’t they?
On the way to the old school building, Quinby-three kept laughing and doing their best imitations of Ellie.
This makes us look like normal schoolgirls.
This is the age where even if you are a noble girl, you are still considered funny even if you make a playful expression. This may be a healthier way to look at it.
“It’s a shame, though. I thought Miss Ellie would have done something like that to help us win.”
“There are limits! …You know, I don’t know what you guys think of me. I’ll get angry if you think of me as a pervert.”
“What? No, I think of you as a reliable senior.”
“There was nothing ‘reliable’ about that conversation, was there?”
“No, no, I’m not referring to our conversation. What I mean is when I watch how Maria’s rebellion unfold and what has happened since then.
You can’t just fall from being the next queen to being a commoner and then capture a charming boy with an S rank and pull him back into aristocratic society, that’s not something anyone can imitate.”
“I see. I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but it sounds rather sinister.”
“It’s just your imagination. I truly admire you…”
Oh? I could feel sorrow in your voice… this one, I believe, is not my imagination.
“Lady Esmeralda, are you okay?”
“Huh? Why do you ask?”
“I thought you were feeling a bit down.”
When I said this, I saw Lady Esmeralda smiling sadly, Brigitte and Cecilia looking at each other with complicated expressions.
There’s something off about this.
I stared at her, and Lady Esmeralda sighed in resignation and started telling her story.
“… Didn’t we give Anna a bit of a scolding yesterday evening? It wasn’t just about Hayato. In fact, …my fiancé also seems to be attracted to her.
I wanted to speak with Anna about it, but she kept quiet and didn’t say anything, so I got upset with her. …”
“Really…? You said earlier that he cared for you.”
“On the surface, he does. If I invite him to tea, he will come, if I write to him, if I give him a gift, if I ask for an escort evening party, he will respond normally.
But there is something different about him. There is a subtle feeling of discomfort from the conversations and letters, the difference in facial expression between when he is with me, and when he is with Anna… I could tell something is different.
I didn’t want to make too much noise, so I kept a quiet eye on them until now, that is.
Because as soon as Hayato joined class, she started to focus on him. It made me feel like she was ridiculed not only me but by my fiancé as well, and it made me angry.”
“ah…I think Esmeralda’s fiancé is Julius, the son of Marquis Muller. Of the …Team A.”
“Yes. I wonder what kind of faces they are having at the strategy meeting right now. I’m sure he’s trying his best to impress Anna.”
“But we don’t know that, do we? Maybe it just happens to look like that, or maybe it was some misunderstanding.”
Esmeralda shook her head slowly.
“I’m not mistaken, and I’m sure you understand, Alisha. You know that feeling of helplessness I get from a man who is losing interest in me.”
I suppose she’ s referring to my time with His Highness.
Indeed, I understand.
No matter what I say, it doesn’t reach his heart.
Many times I think how good it would be if I were mistaken, and I tried to do many things, only to be convinced in the end that I am simply not mistaken.
“If you were right, … what would he do about your marriage?”
“I don’t know. However, even if it’s a political marriage, unlike an engagement with the crown prince, there is a certain amount of flexibility. … If he is serious, it’s possible to break it off.”
It’s hard for me to listen to this.
“I won’t choose to dissolve the marriage, though. It’s not that I decided on my marriage partner based on likes and dislikes.
Still, I want to cherish it… I wanted to take care of him and be taken care of, and I wanted to build a loving family… That was my wish.
But only women will dream of a warm home. For men, love is something that is always on the outside. That’s what I’ve decided to believe.”
“Please don’t do that… Please don’t… It’s such a dreamless story……”
“It’s a fact.”
“I told you not to do that. It’s making me worried.”
“Alisha, you can come to my side. We can be a patron of stage actors and be healed together. You can be a painter or a musician or whatever you want.”
“It will be fun!”
It’s so sad that we have to sit back and watch people we loved to have their hearts changed…!
It’s funny, I’m starting to feel like Team B is a bunch of losers in love, including the teacher. No, that’s not true. It’s because the other side (Team A) is too sparkly. Mainly because of Hayato.
Love is something that always stays on the outside.
I wonder if Hayato will eventually become like that.
It’s too tragic.
Thanks to my decision to marry a man with deep romantic feelings, I can’t think of it as a political marriage that I could drop and forget like before.
I wonder what I should do if Hayato changes his mind.
If my desire for his happiness is genuine, is it also love to step aside gracefully? I doubt I could do that, though.
I’d probably slap him… That’s not graceful at all, is it?
I imagined unpleasant things as I walked, and just as I reached the old school building, the bell for the second period rang.
Team B had already gathered. As soon as the girls see me, they responded with “Wow! You’re so cute!” but the boys didn’t have any particular reaction except for a look on their faces as if they were looking at something they shouldn’t.
Maybe this was the kind of thing that only girls would like.
…at any rate, there’s no use to overthink about it.
Those who wish to use a wooden sword can take it from the old school building’s armory and then begin to practice indoor combat maneuvers.
Because it was the first time for me, Brigitte, and Cecilia to wield swords inside a building, we started with a series of swings in different places to get a feel for the distance between us and the wall.
The trick to fighting with a wooden sword in Mock battle is to hit the joints or the legs, the boys said, so I borrowed three of them to be practice partners for the girls inside the old school building.
“But it would be a bad idea to get injured before the main battle. So let me put up some protective wards.”
I said that and put up a ward on everyone’s body.
Then they were strangely surprised.
“Eh? For 15 people …no, it 16 if you include the teacher? Are you sure you can afford using that much magic right now?”
“I’m fine. My magic power recovers faster than others.”
In truth, my magic capacity was just huge, but I thought it would be bad to say it, so I lied a little.
Lady Esmeralda, who was listening to the exchange from the side, laughed.
“The quality of the barrier is ridiculously good for that.
See? You can hit it with a wooden sword, and It’s not even a little bit painful when you did; you need to channel quite a lot of magic power to achieve this.”
Our teacher is reckless; he muttered and put the wooden sword away.
“magic power of mine was often said to be the biggest back home.”
“…Thank you for your hard work, Mrs. Ellie.”
Brigitte is also laughing at me now.
If you tell one lie, you will have to tell more lies to cover it up. I guess I didn’t learn anything from the Pinocchio movie.
Anyway, it was decided that Maurice, our King, would be my opponent, so we faced each other with our wooden swords drawn.
This is the first time I’ve gone up against a person other than Hayato.
Maurice is good at the holy attribute. He is the fourth son of the Marquess of Stanway. He hopes to join the Knights Order after graduation – said the academy documents.
His proficiency at holy attribute also means that he is good at the recovery technique.
Even if he joins a knight order, he will be the type to support the rear rather than stand on the front line.
But Maurice’s size is huge, and his eyes are sharp; I think he’s suited for the front lines.
Slowly, I swung my wooden sword at Maurice’s knee. Maurice seems to have calmed down and slowly block it with his wooden sword.
He speeds up a little and aims for the shoulder. It is played with a smooth movement. I went to strike the back of his hand without pause, and he quickly withdrew and received it with his wooden sword.
As you would expect from someone who wants to become a knight, there is no hesitation in his movements. And above all, he looks happy.
I guess he’s suited for the front lines after all.
As I tried to analyze his movement, I increased the speed of my strikes.
“Woah…? You’re good, teach! Even though I look like this, I was the best five of this academy, and you really close to landing hit to me.”
“My Master, very good. trained me well, He did.”
My Master once told me that I was the type of person who would get stronger on my own, but if you start with slow, steady movements, and then gradually add more speed, you’ll begin to see the flow of battle, and it will be easier to see the gap in your opponent’s defense.
People said, “…It won’t be like that normally. You, guys, are abnormal.” But what can I do? I can see what I can see.
I’m surprised at my aptitude for it, but then again, I’ve never hit a master yet, so I’m still inexperienced.
“You can attack me too, Maurice, it’s okay. I have a ward.”
When I said that, Maurice’s eyes lit up.
“…then, take this!”
He dodged my sideways swing and took advantage of his size to come at me with his superior physique.
–He’s aiming for the shoulder.
Intuitively, I clad the wooden sword with a barrier. I felt that the sword couldn’t stand a heavy blow if I’m not doing this much.
Maurice swung downwards with heavy momentum, his eyes wide open for a moment when my wooden sword is emitting a pale white light. As I received his wooden sword’s impact, which I parried sideway, his blow slipped off, and the blade escaped towards the ground.
As soon as I felt that I had completely fended him off, I applied body reinforcement to my legs, jumped up, and unleashed a knee kick toward his chin. I felt confident that the move would connect as soon as I released it.
The knee went right where I wanted it to, and Maurice was blown to the side.
When he landed and took a breath, Maurice fell to the ground.
“That’s amazing Al…lie…”
When I suddenly turned my face to Brigitte’s voice, everyone stopped moving and looked at me.
“My Master …… was much more amazing.”
It’s true. I got this much just by chasing my Master back.
As I fix my black-rimmed glasses that have slipped off, I walk over to Maurice, who hasn’t gotten up and check on him.
…oh, crap, he’s out cold.
Apparently, even a ward can’t prevent concussions.
“Well, Erie’s teacher is Haya—.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
Brigitte, whose mouth was blocked by Esmeralda, apologized immediately.
“Is Maurice going to be okay? He hasn’t gotten up yet.”
“Um, no good. He’s completely out of it.”
“Well, even if he does get up, we’d better give him some rest.”
“Wait, what are we going to do? I mean, our King’s is out of the fight before the main event.”
Shing~~— and the eyes of blame focused on me along with the silence.
“I’m sorry, ……. I got carried away…”
When I apologized, my hand was placed on my shoulder.
It was Lady Esmeralda.
“Mrs. Ellie…. You should take responsibility and take over the role of king role.”
I was about to say, “How is that even allowed?” But it was entirely my fault, so I can only nod and say “Yes …….” they also left the job to explain and persuade the other team to let the teacher (me) take the role of King.
I hope Esmeralda would be able to resolve her life-partner problems. Maybe she could try saying those dreamless delusions to him. He might have thought that she is way to mighty/graceful and got attracted to the small animal Anna(?). So, if she shows her cute side and with the fact that Anna has many suitors but Esmeralda is his fiancee; he might slowly get out of Anna’s clutches.
Urgh.. Anna is like a second Maria 🙄