First side note: I always post the link to a chapter’s original page at the top as my way of referencing the original work and providing the author with a few more clicks. I couldn’t do that this time because I went ahead, bought the light novel, and this is the first light novel exclusive chapter I’m translating. So the link at the top of the page brings you to the original store page from the site I bought it at. Second side note: Not being able to just google any Kanji I don’t know makes this a lot tougher. Poor me:( Have a nice day everyone and enjoy.
Noblewoman Overhears a Lovely Story
This is a story that took place about three weeks before Rachel was imprisoned in the dungeon.
The guard manning the gate of Duke Ferguson’s mansion kept a watchful eye out for the young noblewoman’s carriage. Dusk had just begun to settle when he saw a carriage racing this way. He turned back to the mansion and began shouting.
“The Lady is home!”
After his words echoed through the courtyard, the mansion immediately sprang to life as family members and servants rushed out to greet her, and the guard ran back to his station and threw open the gate. The guard opened the gate at just the right timing so that the carriage bearing the Duke’s family crest on its front was able to pass through without having to slow down.
As the fiancee of the first prince………rather their future queen Lady Rachel had returned home from her special education inside the royal palace.
The butler, head maid, and all the other servants formed two lines on either side of the mansion’s entrance, lowering their heads as Rachel came down the hall.
She gave a simple self-evaluation to the butler when he asked how the day’s studies had gone, and she confirmed with the head maid that dinner would be held at its usual time in two hours. In the meantime the other maids and male servants bowed their heads and brightly greeted Rachel as she walked up the large steps to her room on the second floor……..and when the door closed behind her, she collapsed onto her bed just as she was.
Rachel started whining with her face buried in her bed while her personal maid Sofia peeled off the clothes and accessories she was wearing. Her studies at the royal palace were quite taxing, and it was a regular occurrence for her to collapse with a *BMPH* whenever she returned.
It was her attendants job over the next two hours to get this withered Rachel into the bath, and arrange a level of dress and preparedness for her that she would look presentable when having dinner with her family.
A maid had to be able to show off some dexterous tricks in order to strip a master who didn’t want to move naked.
That would be natural. Ever since Rachel began her queen’s education inside the royal palace, her maids had been working on various techniques and technologies to support her. If their master is weary, then they would take off her dress without causing any additional burden to her.
Why don’t they strip her while she’s standing up? There isn’t a person here who could give a sound argument. Rachel’s basic behavior is their top priority.
The maids provide her a thin sheet to cover herself before taking a step back and allowing Sofia to replace them. Her fingertips on both hands rapidly got to work on Rachel’s body, massaging everything from Rachel’s upper back down to her ankles.
“……..four hours of classroom lectures followed by two hours of dance, later………was inspecting table manners?”
Rachel’s face was still buried into her pillow, but Sofia was capable of guessing the day’s curriculum by the tension in her master’s muscles even before Rachel gave her a deft nod for confirmation.
“Un……..it was only three hours of classroom lectures and two hours of dance along with an hour of how to elegantly walk………there was also an additional two hours of how to gracefully watch theater………that lecture alone left my shoulders feeling stiff.”
“And how does one gracefully watch theater?”
“Shoulders back, sitting up straight with good posture, and then keenly smiling while enthusiastically watching the stage…….in order to watch……… In fact, the lecturer woman’s angle while watching that empty stage was wrong, so all that lesson is good for is diminishing the royal pedigree. Then in the end her hollow eyes started shining while she said we would have some fun…….there isn’t any excitement with keeping your eyes locked on an unmanned stage……”
“It’s a ridiculous class as you are watching from the sidelines.”
“I look like a fool watching another fool staring at nothing.”
Sofia gave a signal, and from seemingly out of nowhere eight other maids appeared, suddenly surrounding Rachel from all sides.
“Poor girl…….for our Lady who is so tired, allow us to heal everything for you.”
“…….I always tell you gently…….”
While taking note of her master’s cautionary words, Sofia started handing out instructions to her subordinates.
“Today’s emphasis is the shoulders, shins, and soles of her feet! They’re all in an extremely stiff state, so be sure to act thoroughly! All members, begin!”
“Didn’t I tell you to use your hands gently!? ……………Fugyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
Nine people including Sofia all attacked Rachel at the same time. They pressed down on her with MAX motivation to begin the massage. Not just their fingertips, but they were using the second joints of their fingers, full-fledged rub downs with their hands, and even some acupuncture sticks…….all done simultaneously across her entire body. And with Sofia of course being the chief among them, she took charge of the most reverberated feet.
“Huah!? Puah! Hingyaaaaaaaaa! Ihya, Ihyaiiiiii!”
A relaxing full-body massage that fully heals a person, allowing them to gently nod off to sleep…………the massage Rachel was being assaulted with wasn’t something that cute. The nine maids restrained the young lady as she started bouncing around in pain, and they continued to sprinkle their full power onto her.
“I’ve already said it many times! Why do you have to do my whole body simultaneously!?”
“I’ve explained this already many times, but we don’t have the time to do this gradually one at a time. It cannot be helped.”
“It cannot be helped, but doesn’t your voice sound like you’re enjoying yourself!?”
“My lady jumping around from the pain of a sudden prick? Is there any reason I wouldn’t find this interesting?”
“Is this a labor dispute strike!?”
“Everything we do is for My Lady. My, the kidneys……..”
“And now for the showstopper.”
“…….Hmm, because it bounces so much during the Spring, your legs look pretty tired too. Lisa, Mimosa, focus on the area right underneath her knees in particular.”
The noblewoman is then carried while in a half-conscious state to the tub where she is thoroughly boiled at a low temperature. Wrapped in a towel when her snow white skin turns a rosy pink, this time she is softly rubbed down to prevent any muscle sores from returning. After pouring some cold, refreshing lemonade down her mouth, Rachel finally fully regains consciousness.
“…….Every day every day, I’m sick of having this boring queen education sucking my soul away as if I were performing penance every single day…….it’s like I’ve already descended to Hell. Ah~, I don’t want to be that Prince’s wife…….”
“Thanks to you, we are having fun every single day.”
“Aren’t you diverting work stress by shopping and trying out the food at various restaurants?”
“Shopping and being a gourmet is a little hard on our wallets, so we refrain from such fattening hobbies. Something more entertaining than hearing My Lady scream, do you think there exists anything like that in the world?”
“Out there? There are definitely plenty of other things?”
While watching the other maids prepare the clothes and make-up that was to be worn for tonight’s dinner, with Rachel settled Sofia started reading off the day’s report.
“There are a number of things to report today, but there is one of import that should be heard first.”
“Oh, what is it? Have our secret messages sent through the route inside the royal palace been leaked?”
Sofia kept silent and passed over a hundred letters causing Rachel to tilt her neck to the side while drinking her lemonade.
“Um? ‘E, are you planning on destroying your engagement to the boss?’ ……….Huh?”
As one would expect, Rachel raised a shocked voice.
“Besides that one, ‘I have already formulated my own concrete plan’ apparently.”
Sofia started reporting the details of their spy’s findings while Rachel continued to silently stare at the document in hand.
“As we had previously reported it seems that the Prince and those close to him have become enamored with the daughter of a baron who recently started visiting the royal palace…..and it seems he has at last consolidated his determination to make that woman his girlfriend and future princess while getting rid of My Lady. Unfortunately it seems that Master George is involved in the plot……..although we have gained concrete proof of the conspiracy, we have yet to report this evidence to the head of the house.”
Sofia reported everything she could before asking with a all her heart,
“What would you have done……?”
If Rachel were to move the subjects she had, it would be an easy thing to crush the Prince’s plan or even the Prince himself. The latter option would actually increase Rachel’s power even higher.
Rachel handed the report back over to Sofia.
“Let’s increase our communications. We don’t necessarily know who this ‘boss’ is.”
“My apologies. When making a cryptographic table we didn’t take into account times like this.”
Sofia folded the report and put it away in her pocket before looking back into her master’s eyes.
“So, what shall we do?”
“Let me see…….it’s’ certainly unexpected………”
Rachel sat back in her seat, silently staring into thin air while Sofia continued to quietly gaze at her.
The Rachel who she admired’s marriage partner.
Prince Elliott who was popular among young girls with his brilliant appearance, and to be honest their intelligence network investigated any rumors that had circulated around him. In the end all they could find out about him though was that he was incompetent.
It was useless.
Although the part about him having good looks was certainly true, with the insides not being even remotely compatible with Rachel, the couple’s relationship quickly fell through. Even though this was a common occurrence with many arranged marriages between aristocrats, the fact that the next King and Queen couldn’t find any common ground between each other left a sense of crisis for the servants who weren’t Rachel’s.
If he was the type of idiot who could only do whatever his wife told him, then with Rachel’s maneuvering you could describe him as not incompetent. But even though he was incompetent, his pride wouldn’t allow him to just follow orders. If Rachel was the one who had thought something up, then he would get angry and throw a fit, opposing whatever it was without thinking about the future.
Rachel would try and give him a practical problem, (like someone having broken in to the royal palace), and Rachel would try and instruct the Garbage Prince would put in zero effort. When Rachel would diligently try to teach him, he would call her noisy and not listen to anything she said.
It was like the little Prince’s only goal was to defy the Lady……..
Sofia patted her hands in her lap trying to hold back her murderous intent for the unsuspecting royal fool. If Rachel authorized it, Sofia would have been more than happy to go down to that stupid, incompetent Garbage Prince and personally instructed him about the fate of cheaters.
By the way, Sofia has never met Elliott before. All of her opinions were speculation derived from the reports she had received. Although she tried to remain objective, blood always rushed to her head whenever somebody got even in a little of the way of her Master’s benefit or prevented her from seeing Rachel’s adorable shortcomings. Or so she was thinking on her own.
While noticing her empty glass, Rachel turned to Sofia.
“So, what are they concretely going to do?”
“Yes, they will be condemning My Lady the evening of the party celebration for the opening of the social season next month, and they will push forward the Baron’s daughter on the spot after declaring the breaking off of the engagement.”
“I see……..that is because only the noble youths will be coming out there. There won’t be any worries of any parental nobles or powerful people putting an end to the charade on the spot. This kind of forward thinking is definitely George’s handiwork.”
“You think so?”
Rachel shrugged her shoulders.
“If it was His Highness Elliott, he would’ve come forward and made his declaration the next day without preparing any foundation beforehand.”
“He’s quite the fool isn’t he?”
“He’s reputed as a person who has to use all his nutrients in order to understand. Also, His and Her Majesty will be visiting the mining areas in the southern regions before heading to the summit…….George has picked out a good timing for this.”
“There are other tacticians involved……?”
“The rest of the Prince’s entourage are a bunch of muscle brains who only ever think about their calorie intake. Of the nine people he has following him, eight of them are a collection of sycophant jesters.”
“…….Even if we weren’t talking about this case, it’s a lineup that makes me worry for the future of this country.”
“That’s why His Majesty hasn’t passed down any real power right now.”
Rachel rose up from the couch and dropped her bathrobe to begin getting dressed. Confirming the glow of her skin, the maids quickly got to work putting on the new clothes they had prepared for her.
“So Sofia. Making an accusation against me at the night’s ball and changing his fiancee to the Baron’s daughter…..after that, what does His Highness plan on doing with me? Since he’s doing this in such a public place, surely they wish to finish the matter in a single stroke?”
“Because their thought patterns are those of children, it seems they have yet to think about that. They plan on shaming My Lady by forcing you to confessing how you bullied the Baron’s daughter, and it seems they will make you apologize. When His Majesty the King returns home, they will drag My Lady before him where you will confess your sins and the replacement of fiancees will be smoothly realized. It sounds like such a plan so far.”
“They’ll dispose of me afterwards by throwing me to His Majesty and Father…….I mean, have they really only thought that far ahead?”
Sofia put a simple dress to be worn at home on Rachel before she took a seat on a stool, and the maids in charge of make-up wrapped a scarf around her neck and began to apply on white powder. The make-up was applied thinly per Rachel’s preferences, so applying the white powder was finished after a few light dabs. The maids then immediately switched over from the puff ball to a brush and started applying crimson to her lips.
“After the evening ball, it should be about a week before His Majesty returns home right? Do they expect me to just go along with what they’re saying?”
“I cannot imagine a scene where My Lady would apologize to them first, but…….if they were to carry out this crime drama in front of the other participants of the evening ball, they probably do not believe you can overcome the facts.”
“I can’t even imagine…….I, do they want me to become the most famous noblewoman in the court.”
“A wolf that can’t bark is still a wolf. Oh my, this is the first time a poor debut in court has ever made me laugh. Hahahahah”
Even though they had gone to so much trouble to get this information, Sofia was starting to think it would be better to not pass it on to the lord.
“That’s right. If the Lady were to refuse to recognize her sins, it seems the Prince’s group would get impatient and throw you in the dungeon to make you cry.”
The words said in jest caused Rachel to stiffen with astonishment.
“Yes. It seems like they Prince intends to imprison you in the dungeon.”
“Was there such a thing in the Royal Palace?”
Rachel’s doubts were justified.
In this sweet and peaceful country, are dark facility like a dungeon shouldn’t exist inside the royal palace. Although criminal nobles did appear every once in a while, nobody in the town shops ever talked about them being put in prison inside the royal palace.
“I confirmed it after the information came in. Underneath the warehouse facing the backyard and temporary courtyard housing, there is a semi-underground prison. It seems the seventh generation king had it constructed in the royal palace to hold rebels.”
A relic of the period when the court saw plenty of blood. In other words……
“It was about a hundred years ago……can it still be used?”
“It’s a room with only stone walls and iron bars. Interior decoration, it is completely lacking in furniture, but the upper and lower water supplies seem to have been maintained……..it runs at least. There are officials who manage the facility and perform regular maintenance.”
When they looked around, they guessed a person could have still spent some happy, trivial days at the time.
“……..it sounds like you can’t fit too much in there, but for one person it should be plenty of space to spare.”
Taking Sofia’s report in hand, Rachel closely eyed the sketch of the prison printed there. If she were to trust the vertical and horizontal lines written there, the whole room seems to be the size of a tennis court.
“Because it was supposed to house greater aristocrats, was it designed with a larger estimated living space?”
“They might have created it in accordance with the position of the ground floors’ walls and pillars.”
Rachel’s interest had been piqued, and standing up, she started pacing about. The maid in charge of accessories quickly followed after her having not yet put on the Lady’s necklace. Rachel briskly halted. The rushing maid was then allowed to catch up and set the accessory.
“Sofia, the problem party is about three weeks away correct?”
“Yes, I believe so……..?”
Sofia tilted her head. Clearly the Garbage Prince had secretly made these leaked plans, but was there any relation between that and the information on the dungeon?
“Do you have a catalog for those previous reports and items the Black Cats have received?”
Her lord was asking questions with more and more obvious answers.
The intelligence group that Rachel owned separate from the Duke, Dark Night Black Cats, has a signboard with a black cat pictured on it. In the shadows of a logistics trading company that operates over various seas and parts of the world, it was charged with acquiring active funds and maintaining regular contact with information networks from various sources. Of course, despite being a covert organization under Rachel’s influence, it also acted as a proper business.
Rachel roughly looked over the latest product list that the maid had panickly brought over until she carefully inspected a few pages that caught her eye.
Rachel looked as she normally did, but her smile soon twisted into a rarely seen heartfelt smile.
“This is good……”
“For the evening ball three weeks from now, if His Highness abandons the engagement, I will no longer be the next queen correct?”
“That is, is that so……..but would His Majesty allow the engagement to be broken? Although he isn’t someone I have ever worshiped, he is, as expected, not as stupid as his son.”
Sofia-sensei was capable of making quite the controversial remarks, but Rachel didn’t care.
“Such a thing is not a problem. His Majesty won’t be present at the evening ball.”
So, there was no need to stop Prince Elliott’s plans for that evening.
“When my engagement is destroyed by that group, I will deny my condemnation.”
“And they shall successfully throw me into the dungeon.”
Rachel spun around with item catalog in hand, making a declaration for all to hear.
“I shall enter an indefinite vacation~!”
Sofia and the rest of the maids all became of one mind standing perfectly still, so the noblewoman danced alone.
As to be expected, Sofia was the first to regain her sanity and spoke up.
“My Lady……I don’t quite understand what you mean…….”
“Well Sofia, nobody would understand normally if I don’t explain it.”
“Yes, that’s definitely so.”
Rachel happily began listing some things off her fingers.
“If my engagement has been destroyed, then there would no longer be a wedding. Are you fine up until there?”
Confirming comprehension of Sofia, Rachel went on.
“That is, because I will no longer be qualified to be the next queen, then my qualification for the queen’s education would also be lost.”
“So my time would be free.”
The maids’ faces all turned cloudy as if something extremely doubtful had come to pass.
“So! Since the time spent so far has been so hard, I shall spend my time for a while leisurely, relaxingly, and practicing my hobbies!”
“I understand your reasoning.”
“How about it, logical isn’t it?”
Towards the inflated Rachel, Sofia acted as the representative and asked a very important question.
“Engagement abandonment……once the engagement is canceled, I understand you want to take a vacation for a while and enjoy your free time.”
“With that story……the part about you, ‘Being thrown into the dungeon’? After having a suitable talk, wouldn’t it be better for you to just return to the mansion and choose a scenic spot?”
“Well Sofia, I can’t do that.”
Rachel noted the part where her maids were falling off, and she lightly struck Sofia’s forehead with her finger.
“If I were to escape halfway, then wouldn’t my queen education instructors immediately catch me and bring me back?”
The confused Sofia was revived.
“They could come up with a reasoning such as, ‘Duchess Ferguson is using a fight with the Prince as an excuse to flee from her classes’, or something of the such right?”
Rachel had begun to sweat from all the spinning she was doing. She was truly overjoyed.
“Good right? After the engagement with that idiot is broken off with him bearing the full responsibility, won’t I be able to even escape my duties as a Dutchess for a while and do nothing!? It’s wonderful!”
But, it was bad for Rachel who thought it was great…….the plan had a hole.
Sofia swung her head.
“My Lady……when His Majesty returns, won’t he blow away the Garbage Prince’s will? Even before that, they won’t be able to resist once the Duke comes in to object.”
Sofia made a conclusion with a rare stupid look on her face.
“So, after being thrown in the dungeon, I will be released the very next day.”
Rachel summarized Sofia’s point with an unchanging smile.
“Oh, but I don’t have to be dragged out.”
Rachel’s affirmed her words with no hesitation.
“You can put the lock and keys inside the prison.”
“……..Inside the prison?”
If the lock and keys were inside the cell, could you still say you were in prison?
“So, I shall prepare for my fun vacation now!”
With the understanding of the general imprisonment, all of the maids felt that their Lady’s feelings were a bit off the mark.
“For now, we will plan on me being in there for three months, so we must prepare preserved food and something for me to do. Even if it’s canned food, recently there have been many kinds added to the repertoire. Let’s have the Black Cat’s shop look for something good! We will also gradually clean and fix up the dungeon in advance so as not to draw attention to ourselves, and we will have to thoroughly study the security so that we can maintain a method of contact! It’s indoors which means I won’t need a tent, but I wonder what I should do for bedding……ah, I have so little time yet so much to prepare!
Acting as if she were about to go camping, Rachel started to feel at ease while planning her preparations.
Sofia who was looking on at her Lady’s face suddenly turned her head away…..when she saw Rachel getting serious, she lost her ability to think effectively.
“We will get the supplies ready at once.”
Rachel came first to Sofia and the other maids.
Whether it was the common sense of the world or not, their Lady’s judgement was always right.
It was all right even if she were running away from reality to avoid her queen’s education, so long as the Lady was having fun.
“Allow us My Lady, because it is a dungeon, we shall prepare lighting and plenty of insect repellent.”
“I think we should bring only the minimum for meals. Would you like sweetened tea, or is that not necessary?”
“If she can’t go out, then we should bring in some novels and poetry as well……”
“My, you all are in high spirits!”
Nobody was bringing up any more objections, and so, Rachel’s ‘Happy Vacation Plan‘ began.
At the cafeteria.
“Oi, is Rachel still…….it’s already been four hours since she came back……”
“I told her three hours but…….”