She and Her Older Brother 1
I cleared the escape mission with no issues, but what happened later was far from fine.
After coming home safely, I went to see my mother. It was also to greet her as I returned home, but mostly because I thought I made her worry. I wasn’t particularly concerned about my father, but I didn’t mean to make my mother worry.
At any rate, she probably knows the situation to a certain degree, but she’ll still be relieved to hear my explanation.
Thinking so, I arrived in front of my mother, but contrary to my expectations, she made a troubled face and said.
“It is unthinkable, but you’ve not returned without permission, have you?”
I froze upon hearing those words. Crap. Certainly, I hadn’t left behind so much as a letter.
My mother guessed the situation from my gaze wandering about. She breathed a sigh and with a cough began her sermon.
Eh, why did it turn out like this?
I couldn’t keep up with this unexpected development.
This is the first time my mother got genuinely angry at me.
Honestly, I’d thought that she’s a quiet and docile person, so I was surprised by her unknown side.
I was so surprised that half of what she said went over my head.
My mother’s sermon continued. I took the safe attitude of earnestly repeating ‘Yes’ and ‘Sorry’.
Thanks to my father I understand.
I can’t unskillfully talk back at such times.
It provokes more anger and only prolongs the scolding.
Because I received sermons from Father for every little thing every few days, I learned of the method to make them end as quickly as possible.
Still, I became depressed by the sermon that could be compared to a harsh scolding of a small child.
Or rather, I wondered why my mother weaved in words like ‘tomboy’ or ‘careless’ here and there. It couldn’t be, but had myself feigning innocence got exposed not only to my father, but even to her…?
Even when my father had scolded me the other day my mother had been on his side, so perhaps it was the case.
“… That should be enough, so go to your room. But, do not do something like that again, do you understand?”
With these words, my mother’s scolding that eroded my mental strength finally ended.
I was already dizzy, so I could do nothing but obediently nod to my mother’s words.
I was allowed to return to my room, and as I ascended the large staircase in the spacious lobby, I thought.
… I understand well. I’ll be extra careful from now on. My mother is somebody who mustn’t be angered.
I returned to my room and sat on the sofa. I could finally take a breather over tea brought by a maid.
“… I’m tired.”
I flopped on the sofa. It was okay since nobody was watching.
Drinking my favorite blend of black tea made me finally feel like I came home. My mother might have gotten mad that I returned home without permission, but I was glad to be back.
Because, in that situation, even if I’d honestly said that I wanted to go home, I don’t think he’d have let me.
I’m not being conceited. I clearly felt such strong intent from Freed.
I wonder what Mother would think about that.
In the first place, if I stayed in that constrained place obediently without any of my possessions, how in the world would I spend my time?
Even if I were told to just roll around and wait for Freed, I absolutely couldn’t agree to it.
… But, this is a serious problem.
I raised my body and again started thinking.
It’s a fact that it’s been decided that I’ll marry him in half a year.
That much is fine. I’ve already agreed, and the engagement ceremony was grandly held.
Fast horses must have been immediately sent out to foreign countries. After all, the Crown Prince of a major country got engaged.
Unmistakably, it’ll spread all around the world.
But, I need to take some measures before the wedding.
To marry him means having to endure spending free time over there.
I absolutely don’t feel like being locked up even when I finish my work as the Crown Princess.
Bringing something to kill time is essential.
What’s more, I need at least a little freedom. I think I’ll have to implore Freed for that.
If it’s impossible… Yup, I’ll use force.
What’s left is what to do about what happened this time.
My mother also said it earlier. Think a little more about your behavior.
That’s to say, I have to do it more skillfully next time, it’s something like that.
Of course, I have no objection to following my mother’s directions and apologizing to those I caused trouble for, starting from Clara.
It’s the truth I really didn’t say anything, causing trouble for all sorts of people.
Let’s lower my head any number of times necessary.
But, I can grow. If there’s a next time, that time I won’t mess up for sure.
Let me show that if it’s something like a letter, even I can write it.
There’s no way I can honestly write, ‘I’m bored, so I went home.’ Putting knowledge that I’ve been taught as a duke’s daughter to use, I’ll compose an exemplar letter paying attention to phrasing and decorating it with beautiful words.
I’m a child who can do it if she tries.
But, suddenly I noticed a certain fact.
If I overdo it, wouldn’t it become ‘hypocritical courtesy’?
It’s that. If I’m too polite, instead it’ll turn impolite.
“Hmm. Achieving balance is surprisingly difficult…”
At what degree should I stop? I thought I could use flowery words freely, but it seems better to hold back.
I drank the tea once again.
… Alright, let’s rethink this from the beginning.
Having a little fun thinking about the next time I escape, I started getting engrossed into the matter of what kind of letter should I leave behind to be successful.
“Or, what if I use ‘invisible ink’…?”
They’ll surely be surprised. But, if they fail to notice, there’s a chance I’ll be scolded like this time.
That’s no good. I’ve had enough of it after this time. I hate being scolded.
Without noticing the direction of my thoughts going awry, I groaned, unable to reach a conclusion, when I heard loud noises downstairs.
I came to my senses hearing that.
It seemed the maids were making a commotion.
Concerned about the sound, I stood up and looked at the antique wooden clock hanging on the wall.
The time was early afternoon. It was still too early for my father to come home, so perhaps a guest came.
Concluding that it didn’t have anything to do with me anyway, I once again immersed myself in thought.
“Lidi!! Have you come home?!”
Before even thinking about who the person raising the voice is, I frowned.
The owner of the voice seemed to be going up the stairs. I could hear such sounds. I clicked my tongue as it appeared quite clear he was heading for this room.
Why did he return to this mansion?
He should have returned to the mansion in our territory to train as the successor a year ago. I hadn’t heard he’d be returning to the Royal Capital.
The door opened with a bang.
I glared at the man who intruded without permission.
The man who entered without any reservations was my older brother. Of course, my real older brother.
My brother, who looked just like our father, was wearing an extremely flashy red justaucorps. It was decorated with aiguillette made of gold and silver threads. You could tell at a glance it was an appearance of a noble who went to the castle. Regardless, I unintentionally knit my brows. Truly unacceptable. I breathed out a sigh seeing the base of my brother’s neck.
The cravat, that should’ve been cleanly tied, was atrociously disheveled.
There might be people who think it suits him, but I don’t think so.
A maid I hadn’t seen before who followed after him looked apologetically at my brother who entered and the stock-still me. But, there was nothing to worry about. She must’ve been unaware, but this is the default for this man.
Being told she can withdraw, the maid bowed and went back.
When just us two were left in the room, I courteously bowed to him.
“It has been a long time, Elder Brother. You have visited me in an awful hurry, do you have some business with me?”
As a small revenge for invading my room as he pleased, I gave him an overly polite greeting, but my brother didn’t seem to like it.
He brushed up his hair like silver threads and looked here.
“What’s that? Are you harassing me?”
“I do not understand the meaning of what you have just said. In the first place, is it not Elder Brother’s attitude that is usually fraudulent?”
My brother had mastered feigning innocence.
I’ve seen it happen at evening parties several times, but despite his vulgar speech and behavior, Brother can conduct himself elegantly all the way through if only he feels like it.
I don’t know how many times I’ve thought, “Don’t be deceived by that sham,” when seeing young ladies captivated by my brother’s gentle smile.
Having inherited our father’s good aspects, my brother has needlessly high specs.
His aristocratic behavior driven into him from a young age is flawless in public, without any gaps to take advantage of. I could only be amazed when I’d heard about his popularity among young ladies from a friend.
Let me emphasize, I’m not aware of what’s there to be fascinated by.
The usual Brother is like that.
I felt relieved to see my brother being irritated, and I decided to suspend the harassment for the time being.
He must have some business here to specially come from the dukedom.
There was no reason to waste time.
Thinking so, I took a breath and looked towards my brother.
“So, why are you here, stupid brother?”
“Oi, you’re calling the future Prime Minister stupid.”
He replied in an annoyed tone. Although my brother flared up, I responded curtly.
“Idiot is appropriate for a man who enters a lady’s room without knocking. Could you stop that already?”
“There’s nothing to be worried about. Or what? Will you have sex in this room? Then, I’ll of course consider it?”
“Ha? What are you saying, there’s no way I would do that.”
I looked at my grinning Brother with frigid eyes.
He had been like this since the old days. It would be foolish to treat him with courtesy.
“No way you’ll do that? Won’t you do it with your fiancé?”
Instantly realizing who he meant, I became lost for words.
“Don’t be shy. I understand. The hickeys on you are clearly visible. They’re Freed’s, right?”
In panic, I ran towards the full length mirror to check out my neck.
A groan leaked out when I saw many red marks of ownership.
I hadn’t noticed at all!!
As I recalled Will saying it’d be better had I stayed in the room, I wanted to bury myself from shame.
So that’s what he meant…!
The red marks that flaunted the fact of our love affair felt unbearable.
While looking at me cower while covering my neck, my brother said in admiration.
“That’s amazing. I’ve never put on so many. That Freed has seriously fallen in love with you, but you’re still feigning innocence?”
“What an amazing ability to act”, when Brother laughed from the bottom of his heart, I once again scowled at him.
“I’m not feigning anything. Brother, you also know about that, right? I have no reason to feign innocence after having an encounter at such a place.”
It’s my brother who had been asked to investigate by Father. There’s no way he wouldn’t know.
“I guess. Still, that guy fell in love with the true you. In a sense, he’s a strong person.”
“Shut up. Idiot brother.”
“So bashful. Nobody will say anything since it’s an officially recognized relationship. The Crown Princess is greatly favored by His Highness. Such rumors are spreading around the castle.”
“Give me a break!!”
Don’t look at me with such a lukewarm gaze.
Or rather, the opportunities to visit the castle will increase from now on, so being looked at like that will be too harsh.
Seeing me sit down and hold my head, Brother grinned.
“What are you saying? You’re already a celebrity, y’know? The castle has been in an uproar since yesterday because His Highness brought a woman to his room.”
“Eh? What’s unusual about it? Hadn’t Freed brought in as many women as he wanted until now?”
I heard from my friend Marianne that he was a famous playboy.
That’s why I thought it was natural he’d bring women into his room.
When I said that, Brother made a difficult expression and scratched his cheek.
“Ah, you seem to be misunderstanding, but you are the first woman he’s brought to his room, okay?”
“… Really? I’ve heard that he’s a playboy though.”
“I ain’t doing it for him, but I’ll correct what’s different from the reality. It’s only been half a year since he started sleeping with women at masquerade balls. He hasn’t brought even one to the castle, in fact, before that he hadn’t messed around at all.”
“… So that’s how it is.”
Certainly, when Marianne talked about Freed, she used the expression ‘recently appeared’.
Come to think of it, my father also said Freed had his circumstances.
“I don’t really care.”
That’s what I really think. It’d be different if he had an illegitimate child, but I have no reason to learn about the details of Freed’s past relations with women.
“It’s about your fiancé. Ain’t you curious?”
“I have a rule of not caring about the past.”
When I stood up and put it bluntly, Brother’s eyes widened.
“… It’s your usual masculine remark. I don’t think there are many women who can honestly say that.”
“Really? I don’t want infidelity or adultery, but even if I’m told about what had happened before we met, I can’t do anything about it, can I?”
“You’re right. But well, Freed said he’d tell you his circumstances, listen if you have a chance”
“The reason he went to masquerade balls for half a year.”
It’s the root cause of how I’ve ended up caught by Freed.
It doesn’t really matter as it’s already over, but for now I nodded.
Seeing me agree, Brother said, “Alright,” and fixed his gaze on me.
I felt an aura of scolding rise up.
“Then, returning to the story, why did you go to the masquerade ball?”
TL: jingle, Editor: Valeria
This is more or less an edited machine translation. If you notice any, even slight, mistakes, want to help or have any suggestions, by all means please let me know, either through comments, the contact page, or on my discord server.