Translations by AxomiaHoiMoi Tranlations.
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After the kettle starts making noise on top of the lamp’s fire, pour the hot water into the teapot which already held some tea leaves inside. Then turning over the hourglass, Rachel covered the teapot with a tea cozy¹ before digging through one of her wooden boxes.
“…….Should I have cookies, or should I go with dry cake? That is the problem.”
Placing the back of her finger underneath her lips, Rachel began to worry……….and towards her well featured face, Prince Elliott’s cold gaze stuck.
“……..Rachel. Right now, is there really a problem there!?”
“My Your Highness! At this stage of the steaming, is there any other problem more urgent?”
Some days had passed, and what Elliott saw when he returned to the prison with a cooled head was………Rachel elegantly preparing for teatime.
No matter how you look at it, she wasn’t reflecting at all.
“No way, you have nothing to say?”
Towards the Prince’s words, Rachel put her hand to her chin and thought for a moment.
“…..Ah! I haven’t chosen a cup yet?”
“Why would I care about such a small mistake!?”
“No good no good, the sand has all fallen while I was thinking.”
“Don’t lose interest in the Prince’s question!² Can’t you listen properly!?”
As the shouts of her ignoring the Prince came, Rachel made a cheerful grin as the scent of her preparations tickled her nose, partook a piece of sweet candy in a single bite, tried a piece of brandy cake laden with plenty of dried fruits, and made a pleasurable sigh after pouring and drinking a cup of her freshly brewed tea.
“After all, Lion Tea’s Nuts and Berries is the best for tea cakes……a grand answer.”
“…….Oi, turn this way if you’re satisfied. Bastard, to what extent do you plan on ignoring the Prince’s remarks?”
Hearing Elliott’s words as his tone became like the simmering of boiling magma, Rachel glanced up at the Prince with her fork still in hand.
Rachel swallowed what was in her mouth, bristling her eyebrows, and then intensely pointed³ at Elliott with one end of her fork.
“Your Highness……..that Prince thing, you must not allow your attendants to make fun of you for it! Such rude fellows must be intensely pointed at, not called upon! Do you understand? Do you promise Onee-san?”
While preaching to her former fiancee with a smug face, Rachel poured herself a second cup with her task done.
Towards the unusual assumption he got in response, Elliott was left dumbfounded…….and then when his senses returned to him, a blue vein popped on his forehead.
“Should a prisoner be making a lifestyle for themselves where they can prattle such an extremely elegant line of gibberish…….Ah!?”
“Well! I will have you know I am properly awake. Even if I were sleep talking then His Highness alone was enough to awaken me.”⁴
Rachel had a comeback for every remark.
“Enough already, bastard! Not only have you bullied Margaret from the shadows, but now you foolishly choose to refuse to reflect on your actions like an idiot…..!?”
“That’s it! Altogether, while I’m locked away in a prison, why do I have to continue playing the straight man for each thing His Highness says! Why is the burden of the Prince’s disgrace being put on a prisoner? Is this fine? Be aware of the words and things appropriate for His Highness’s position, and shouldn’t you be more careful of your surroundings!?”
………………..There was something wrong with Rachel’s reasoning.
It was around here that Rachel managed to finish her third cup of tea, and Elliott realized Rachel had coaxed him into finding fault in himself.
“Hold on, isn’t right now just your misunderstanding!?”
“Isn’t your reaction a little slow?”
“Can’t you shut up!? This is about you!⁵ Imprisoned in an underground dungeon, hasn’t your head cooled down a little?”
Elliott was pointing his finger at Rachel while shouting.
“How is a young daughter of a Duke supposed to bear this dark and clammy underground dungeon! It’s already been ten days since I pushed you in here. In what way have the preparations you’ve done made this into anything more than a temporary residence? Even if you stretch out your bravado, aren’t you just raising noise!?”
The person who had all this directed to her commented how the tea was good, and leaving the tea set out as it was like a no good wise man, she sunk into the soft cushions of her couch and spread open a book. Looking at the front cover, it appeared to be a magazine that gathered a number of trendy pictures and stories together.
Elliott was completely ignored and received no reply. It seems that it was a little too dark at the time though, and she turned up the lamp on her table up a bit.
“Some people just can’t keep calm…….when somebody is reading a book you should be quiet, haven’t those in charge of your education ever informed you of such?”
“Hasn’t anyone ever told you before to listen to what people say to the end and not go do something else……!?”
“If so then everything is fine. I wasn’t listening to you from the beginning.”
“How are you managing like this!?
With her book still spread open, Rachel glanced up at Elliott.
“Your Highness……..what do you see about my life here that would make me raise a sound?”
Elliott tried looking around inside the prison.
A thick, geometric patterned rug was laid out to shut out the cold, hard ground.
While thinking about taking a seat, there was a cushion sofa that would be unbecoming for him to have due to his position as a prince.
Clearly the earlier cups of tea were made with luxury tea leaves. Plus a lamp that never seems to run out of fluid even though it’s constantly used.
Any fault with the contents could be left to bias as there were also some rare canned foreign delicacies that were stocked for meals as well.
But she is unable to leave forcing her to put up with these dreary surroundings, and it’s a life on the level of a poor, lower class aristocrat.
And Elliott guessed that over these last ten days………this woman, she’s a hikikomori.
“Ha, Hahaha……..it certainly seems like you’re enjoying this dungeon quite a bit.”
“However! Don’t you know that the world is steadily moving forward while you’re trapped in this place!? For you with your high pride, apologizing would be a humiliation, but isn’t it better to think about the merits and demerits from staying in prison?”
As Elliott’s eyes looked down on her while trying to make his point, Rachel had silently gone back to flipping through her magazine.
“Well I have considered the merits and demerits properly.”
“I certainly cannot go out whenever I’d like, and I will assuredly be left behind by the flow of the world.”
“You see, it is so!”
While Elliott was making a dubious face, Rachel was as ever keeping her eyes glued to her magazine and spoke with a soft voice.
“As long as I remain in the dungeon, then the abandonment of our engagement remains valid. Therefore, I don’t have to take part in the queen’s education. That involves all the responsible teachers going on about nothing every single day. If the Prince’s abandonment of our engagement gets canceled when I leave this prison, then I will be immediately scooped up by the education office. It’s not a joke. Should I take any chances with such a danger?”
As Rachel spoke, Elliott tried thinking.
He knew the teachers in charge of Rachel’s queen education. When he was little, they continuously scolded him because he was bored and tried to run away from their Spartan training…….no, perhaps it would be better to say that they made use of force to try and make their Prince act like a prince……..
He had never actually seen Rachel receiving the queen’s education, but he knew the teachers’ faces, and he could imagine what the classes were like.
There is no freedom of action, no way to spend your time as you’d like, and while stuck in a cramped desk you have a number of teachers barking away at you like a number of mad dogs.
Elliott wondered what would be better……….
Sykes was overlooking the condition of the horses in the stable when he noticed Elliott walking up from the backyard.
“Your Highness, did you just get back from visiting Rachel?”
Sykes tilted his head to the side seeing Elliott in a state where he seemed to be completely lacking energy and began cleaning up after he finished brushing the horses.
“How is it? Did you see Rachel show a little reflection?”
“……No, somehow…..she hasn’t reflected at all……..in this case, she won’t reflect.”
Sykes was growing troubled over Elliott’s listless demeanor, but it was then that George came running up from the palace.
“Good, I found you! Your Highness!”
“Oh, George. What is it?”
George’s complexion as he came running over looked bad, and while they at first thought he was just out of breath from running this way, that didn’t seem to be it.
“Did something happen?”
When Elliott asked, George started vigorously shaking his head up and down like a woodpecker.
“In Your Highness’s office, wasn’t convinced about my Sis’s imprisonment…….”
George began to reluctantly speak as his pained breath intermittently broke apart his words as Sykes stroked his back.
“Ha………..is that so?”
Until now there were others, courtiers and aristocrats who couldn’t be convinced and claimed that Elliott’s actions were on a whim and his convictions invalid.
“Well, it can’t be helped. I will go argue with them directly. Let’s go!”
Elliott tried to gather himself together and headed back towards his office……when to his back, George threw out some additional information from his parched throat.
“Duchess Somerset and the other ladies in charge of my Sis’s education have flooded in……they keep screaming at everyone in a shrill voice, and we’re struggling to respond!”
Elliott’s feet came to a complete stop, and after doing a splendid 180 degree turn on the spot, he walked back to Sykes and George.
“Yosh, let’s go for a long distraction!”
“Eh!? That, the people who came to protest………”
“You’re leaving now!? Even though the sun will soon set!?”
“Don’t worry! We’ll just forget everything while letting the horses run! Whaaaaat, if the sun does set, we can just stay over in the outside villa!”
Elliott joined the side of his two aides, and he ran the horses towards the suburbs as the sun on the horizon began growing redder.
“Your Highness…….even if you run, they will come again…….”
“We’re not running away! By chance, we really did just happen to run off on our horses by chance!
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