Bread and Wine and Sister
Although Alexis was chewed on by three snakes and swarmed by more poisonous moths after the first two had flown away, the group still managed to reach the city somehow. Although it was exceedingly past the scheduled time, Monette was amazed to hear Alexis and Percival say things like, “We arrived earlier than I expected” and “I’m glad I arrived here alive.”
This urban area near the royal palace is crowded with people every day, and even when the sun has almost set, there are people constantly coming and going. Even though that should be the case, even though a few seconds ago you could clearly see people everywhere, chatting and laughing and running about, in an instant everything became silent. It was because the unfaithful prince had appeared.
The gazing eyes are severely cold, and even though all those frosty looks weren’t being directed at myself, I couldn’t help but grimace inside my helmet. All around people were whispering, and I could hear contempt towards the abusive Lord Alexis.
“It looks like Prince Alexis is quite hated. Serves you right.”
“Monette, could you perhaps choose your words a little more carefully?”
“It looks like everyone is absolutely disgusted by your very being, Prince. Serves you right.”¹
“Not the direction I meant.”
While Monette was laughing because of the easy-to-say verbal abuse, Alexis sighed pitifully, and Percival glared at the crowd. It could be said that Percival’s eyesight was much colder and sharper than the crowd could every hope to pull off. Are you wary of becoming too frustrated with your lord’s situation or….
However, after taking a deep breath and spitting out all the resentment inside of himself, he changed the topic. “I will arrange a horse-drawn carriage.”
“Let’s also buy some meals to take onto the carriage. Prince Alexis, as it could be dangerous, stay close to me.”
“Is this city dangerous …? What about Monette?”
“I will exchange this wine for money. The cold look I am getting from standing near you two is starting to affect me.”
With plenty of disgust, Monette decided on a meeting place for the horse-drawn carriage, and she started walking with a happy feeling and the loud rattle of her armor in her wake.
Then, proceeding about halfway down the road, she took a look back behind her. She watched Alexis and Percival turn to walk away, and she saw the people’s cold and somber gazes move to follow them accordingly. The sight of the city visible through her helm looking strangely more frigid even though it was the same scenery as before.
“Escorting Prince Alexis must be hard work.”
Percival narrowed his eyes slightly to the words that the shopkeeper said. He was glad that he had the Prince wait outside … While I agree, I think this shopkeep would have said this even if Prince Alexis was in the room.
To make matters worse, what does he mean when he says Prince like that? He wrinkled his eyebrows and clearly spoke the word with disdain. It was by my will that I decided to protect him, and I will proudly declare so. Right now, it’s about the only thing I can declare though.
“Other people are waiting, please wrap it up soon.”
I hesitate to use a hurrying voice, there would be no meaning in a store like this where they tend to gather wild horses.² I have learned many times over this past year that no matter how well you make your arguments or how desperately you make your pleas, people will not think twice about tearing out your heart.
“Do not make the story worse, even if you will be leaving the city soon,” I tell myself. I received a paper bag with some bread in it, but i end up reacting to the words, “that poor girl.”
“That girl you were with, was that Miss Monette?”
“That’s right. Hiding their figure like that, it cannot be said that she’s not miserable. Because of her terrible appearance, so even the daughter of a distinguished family can become a pitiful person.”
“Terrible appearance …”
“Both the mother and sister are such beauties. God sure is cruel?”
To have such a difference in beauty between sisters, to the shopkeeper who was lamenting that with a color of sympathy in his voice, Percival stuck to him over the counter.
“Have you seen Miss Monette’s face!?”
“Eh, huh, face? Oh no. The other party is the daughter of the Idira family, you know? A bakery like this wouldn’t have seen her when she was young.”
The shopkeeper dumbly shook his head, overwhelmed by Percival’s momentum.
It is said that the second daughter of the Idira family has been weak since birth, and the sisters stayed in their summer resort for medical treatment. Once it was decided that the sister’s physical condition had improved enough, the older returned to the capital city. On the day that she returned though, she met her fiancee Prince Alexis for the first time who called her ugly, and the engagement was broken off.
Immediately thereafter, Monette started to conceal her face, and she withdrew to the old castle.
In other words, the only people who have seen her face are a very tight social circle. There are few people who saw Monette’s face, and those who did would only have a few vague memories. Besides, her sister is a beauty that you could not miss, so the surroundings would only remember her beauty while those vague memories would be immediately blown away.
“You’ve never seen Monette, but you say she is ugly?”
“Well that’s because she is always hiding her face so much, and those were the words from Prince Alexis. And the Idira family immediately changed the fiancee to the sister, so isn’t that proof enough?”
“I haven’t seen it.”
“Well, even if she is ugly, she is a gentle child.”
The shopkeeper placed out some fish as he was talking about it.
Percival gave a small sigh as he received it … … “I will take this too.” He then picked up the small bag off the counter.
Not knowing that such an interaction was taking place at the bakery, Monette had traded in her wine at the usual store.
When I whispered to them to not expect any more wine from the old castle for awhile, they asked me where I would be going. I told both clerk’s that I would be visiting another country, and the clerk’s expression became cloudy. It is easy to understand.
It was an expression somewhere between labor and worry. It was the exact opposite type of bright expression from when I talked to the prince a few years ago. I was proud of how tenderly I approached our first meeting too.
Too much ….. I received the gold while remembering something that made me tremble. There was no sarcasm in their voices as they told me to “Be careful.” It makes me feel like they may actually think about me even if our relationship is only about the connection between wine and money.
“Armor girl.” Although it is a nickname that carries with it only irony and sarcasm, but these people do not hate the girl Monette specifically.
These people act as if they are talking to a full body of armor, and they buy wine from it. The conversations have an incongruity to them, but they are not like those who persecute me for my appearance. At least, they don’t hit me with a blatant cold glare when I walk in the door.
That is why I cannot understand Alexis’s sudden change of character.
As Monette was deep in thought while walking down the street, she heard some lively footsteps coming close from behind her. Then,
Hearing a voice, she span around.
There was a beautiful girl with dark blue hair. She was wearing a beautiful dress that was shinier than anything else in town. Covered in glitter, a twinkling sound echoed in her mind.
Seeing the figure of such a girl, Monette stood alone, “Emilia…” and said her sister’s name.
1. The second time Monette says “Serves you right” she uses a more polite, womanly form of the verb, but it means the same thing.
2. An idiom. He is essentially calling them all asses.