That day, I was fired up from the morning.
I decided to do a house search. A house search, or rather…a search of my room.
For now, let’s start looking around! Or something like that.
The reason, according to Lilia, Arthirea kept a diary. I think the diary…would be very useful.
It might help me understand what Arthirea was looking at and thinking!
But it wasn’t anywhere that I could see.
In the writing desk bookshelves and drawers, and the mirror table and the small bedside chest and stuff like that. I figured that if Arthirea was trying to hide anything, those were the three basic things. The other places are frequently in the hands of the handmaidens.
There’s basically no privacy for a princess.
“What’s the matter? Dressed like that.”
Today I am in a simple apron dress. Just think of me as Alice in Wonderland. There are simple clothes like this if you look for them.
It’s 70 percent less lace and frills than usual, and it’s cleaner and easier to move around in. However, if the clothes are too simple, people will think it’s strange that they have lace or sewn on real jewels, because these clothes are a symbol of status and authority.
“I just thought I’d tidy up my study for a bit.”
It’s good because I’m supposed to be doing a big cleanup. Even with this.
The first place I thought of as a hiding place was around the bed. I used to hide things under my bed.
But it wasn’t under my gorgeous princess bed or in it. If you think about it, it’s not the best place to hide anything because it’s sheets and stuff are changed every day and it’s cleaned.
Next, I set my sights on the study.
It’s a study, but it boasts a collection of books that’s the size of a small library.
It’s the place where I once spent the most time, and it’s the only place where I was able to reflect my will. For as long as Lilia can remember, I’ve rarely wished for anything, and the one thing I’ve ever said I wanted was ‘books.’
You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their bookshelf…I think the bookshelf in my room was full of French dictionaries, western books on cooking, a pastry book I helped supervise for a little while, and work-related books.
Sometimes I bought travel magazines, and I borrowed all my favorite novels from the library. Those days, the library was open in the evenings, depending on the day of the week, which was convenient.
Come to think of it, who helped me get rid of my stuff ?…Oh, it’s a funeral to start with.
My parents were already dead and I had no siblings. My parents married because they were opposed to it, so we didn’t have any relatives that looked like relatives. It’s a good idea to have a good friend or business acquaintance to think about getting married nowadays, but…it’s not the best place to ask for that kind of help. I’d feel bad.
If I had to think about it, I’d say it’s the couple with Sagisaka-senpai…Oh, but I wonder if the company does this kind of thing for you?
When I think about it, I should have thought through a bit more because I’m like a lifelong loner. I should have left a will or something.
I didn’t think it would come to this, you know?
I can picture the faces of the people I was close to…people who I can’t meet anymore.
Then I remembered my own kitchen, where I was proud of my two favorite workplaces and my oven, and I remembered the house in Hokkaido where I was born and raised.
…It was a place I couldn’t go back to anymore.
I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on, to get used to this place, and I haven’t had time to slowly remember what’s going on over there, but I felt a little depressed about it.
“What’s wrong? Your Highness?”
“No…It’s nicely organized here.”
Lilia’s voice reassures me.
“Because Your Highness didn’t do anything to make a mess or clutter.”
The books in this study are sorted by genre. They seemed random at first because the books are of all sizes, but they are organized.
There is a library book list. Arthirea had made it up…with more than half the books she’s read.
“I’m at the risk of sounding smug…but it’s amazing to read this much.”
“Of course, Your Highness. But Your Highness also hid it from me.”
“It’s far above the level of study required of Her Royal Highness…It’s not the education level there.
Lilia pointed to the back shelf in the back.
“Not at the education level?”
“It’s the kind of books college students read.”
“………Am I that smart?”
“The professor recommended that you consider attending a future university. If you continue your studies, you can get in.”
“……I’m sorry, maybe I can’d do it now.”
I’m sure the knowledge is lying around somewhere, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to take a full-blown exam or anything. Besides, I graduated from a private home economics program over 10 years ago! And I’m completely out of touch with politics and economics!
“It’s all right. The only person who knew that Her Highness had studied that much was the professor. No one else knew.”
“And the Crown Prince?”
“His Highness has never been in the study here, and…the professor said that he would keep it a secret.”
“But I’ve got a record of buying books and stuff…”
That Crown Prince is watching, that’s what it is.
“Most of those books over there were copied by the Princess herself.”
“The manuscript means that there is the original, right?”
If so, I think it will come out from there.
“You borrowed it from the professor and copied it…This, too, I’m sure the professor didn’t report it to His Highness.”
“……Because it would be undesirable for Her Royal Highness to pursue her studies to such an extent.”
“For most everyone.”
There are a lot of implications in that statement.
Well, a woman’s role here is first and foremost to give birth to children. Even more so if you were born into a high status family.
To keep blood connected, and, by extension, to protect the house. That’s the biggest role.
To a man, it’s good to be intelligent enough not to be embarrassed by the mother of your own child. You don’t want to get caught between a lousy knowledge of the subject and an exit.
“…How does Lilia know? I wonder if Alice, Julia, and Miredei know this?
“No. The only people who knew were me and Ellucia.”
“You were helping with manuscripts and stuff. She understood some of the old and archaic languages, and those kids didn’t read and write much in that direction. Ellucia had a cousin in the library who taught her a lot of things and bound books.”
“Is that so.”
I had an unexpected skill.
But then again, I had to hide the fact that I was studying. It’s a lot of work.
“So, what are you three of us doing now?”
“Please check the repairs and outfits…it’s okay, because it’s a job those girls love to do.”
“Yes. I could go on for hours when it comes to outfits, those girls.”
“…I’ll leave it to you.”
It’s not that I don’t have a preference, but I don’t think I can match that passion.
The ones that they pick out fit really well, those girls.
“…Are there stories around here?”
“Yes. Mostly novels and trendy stuff, as well as romance novels. Your Highness is well known for your love of books, so they are regularly delivered to your from your parents’ home.
Most of them are flimsy with threaded saddle stitching. The paper quality isn’t that good either. But the number of volumes is amazing. I guess this is like a magazine.
I think the printing technology is not so developed, but I wonder if this is typesetting? Or are they carved into wood or something like the Edo period? At least it doesn’t seem to be handwritten.
“The princess liked this one.”
The booklet Lilia was holding in her hand had a light blue cover that read ‘Eyes of the Sky.’
“You know my preference…”
“I know because you’ve read it so many times. And I’ve sent it to your parents’ house, and they’ve sent the whole series to you.”
“Hmm. How many books do I have?”
“I think there are about 50 books out right now.”
“……What? It isn’t complete?”
“It’s a romance novel with a lot of turbulence.”
“What kind of story…?”
“It’s a story about a poor noble princess who was a childhood friend of a prince of a unified empire, who is exiled to a foreign country, where she is united with the king of that country after many twists and turns, only to be captured by another country and caught in a war and sold into slavery and placed in the palace of a desert king.”
“…I think I might have figured out what it is.”
Something like Angelique, written by a French author. A masterpiece of that great historical romance with over twenty books in paperback! I saw it on TV when I was in France for an end-of-year movie special.
“I’m going to read this again.”
“Okay, then I’ll just leave it here.”
I’ll read it while lounging on the couch in my spare time.
When I pulled out the box for the Eyes of the Sky, I found a thin booklet attached to the backing board of the missing shelf. What if I’ve found something I’ve been hiding? But it said it was an offshoot of “Eyes of the Sky.” It seemed to have just slipped out of the box, so I tucked it into the box at random.
“Oh, here it is, the diary.”
In the bottom corner of the bottom row. A few books were together.
Yes! This time we have a clue! I thought…
“……No, it’s nothing.”
…It was not helpful.
Maybe I should have guessed from the various facts so far…but its tasteless description made me want to cry.
As an example, let’s take an excerpt from my diary of one day.
•Mon∆, a sunny day
7:00 Wake up
10:00 Studying (History)
12:30 Lunch (Etiquette)
14:00 Studying (Dance/Law)
•Madame Arie taught me to embroider a handkerchief to be presented to His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.
History: The chapter on the Battle of the Plains of Kreuzer
Law: About the written legal statutory law
It’s just a record of the day’s activities and studying, with a word or two attached to it.
Normally, I thought a diary would be a way to write down thoughts that you can’t tell anyone about, or something like that. This is just a record of action.
I can see the record of what I learned and what I did as Arthirea, so it was useful to be able to trace it back. It also seems to have a record of where I went out and what I did.
But hey, it’s a little…
It wasn’t what I was expecting.
It’s not like this.
Then there was a row of study notes together.
These were also very well done. It’s as good as a little reference book. I’m going to try to sneak in some studying later with these.
The letters in the beautiful blue ink were very polite and a bit rounded, which was very girlish.
A bundle of papers that slipped together when I took out the notebook between the shelves of study notes.
A bundle of cards tied with a faded blue string. I kept all the envelopes, too.
They were all from His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.
They don’t have anything special written on them.
They must have come with gifts. It’s just some words of “Happy birthday” or “Souvenir from Arjuna.”…It’s really just a scribble.
…The oldest one is from eight years old. The latest one is from three months ago.
I was a little happy and laughed.
Maybe it’s within the bounds of propriety, but it’s not for nothing.
The letters in blue ink were scribbled but easy to read.
Maybe it’s a direct handwriting, I thought. If it was a ghostwriter, they’d write something more.
Gently, I followed the letters with my finger.
Did Arthirea at least return with a card?
Maybe I should return the tea I got the other day.
I wrote a thank you card right away, but I think I’ll make one here with some sweets.
Hmm…If I’m going to make sure I don’t screw up, maybe cookies.
Plain butter flavor, adult raisins, and black tea flavor from what I received.
I can make a lot of them and then I can eat a few at tea time.
Yeah, let’s do that.
When I thought of making sweets, my cloudy feelings about the other side lightened. I think sweets have a positive effect on people’s minds.
“I need to borrow the kitchen to make cookies.”
“………Excuse me, but can you make it?”
Slightly skeptical. However, she may have remembered the pheasant soup.
When she agreed with me more easily than I thought, she said that baking sweets was not such a problematic hobby for a noblewoman. I’m not allowed to enter the kitchen, though, so I have to leave the baking part to the cook.
“I will do everything I can to make your wishes come true, so I beg you not to act alone.”
I nodded, as if to say ‘of course.’
I didn’t know what Lilia was so afraid of at this moment.
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