I left the classroom to find Liz, but, as she left quite a while before me, she was nowhere in sight. I decided to go to the one place I thought she’d be.
I found her sitting underneath the Tree of Legend holding her knees to her chest.
“What are you doing in a place like this?”
I asked her this and sat down next to her. I leaned back against the large tree and looked up to the sky. I silently waited for her to respond.
“…I never thought I annoyed everyone.”
It was almost the same thing she said before about being clumsy.
“Liz, you were raised in a noble family, right? People that are born in different environments have a different set of values than you and it’s really easy for them to form misunderstandings because of this.”
“What do you mean?”
“Actually, I was told this a little while ago –”
I told her what Akane had said to me.
“A difference in values?”
“For example…what would happen if you were to drop a fork at dinner, Liz?”
“Of course, I’d wait for one of the servants to come pick it up. If they didn’t notice it, I’d politely raise my hand and tell them when they come over.”
“And you wouldn’t just pick it up yourself?”
“Of course not. That would be rude to the others that I’m dining with…why are you asking this anyway?”
This is common sense for nobles.
And I’m not trying to say it’s wrong. Even in modern-day Japan, there are rules in more formal restaurants that are similar to this.
But Liz is essentially bringing that rule into a casual restaurant where normal people are eating.
“Commoners would just pick up the fork themselves. They would never feel the need to bother someone else with something so trivial — this is what I mean by a difference in values.”
Liz never even imagined that a world where people pick up their own forks existed. She’s completely dumbfounded right now.
However, we also teach proper etiquette and even table manners in the Muhle school so there wouldn’t be any students getting annoyed at how she behaves in the cafeteria.
So the biggest problem for them is that they don’t understand each other’s values…even I’m at fault here. I was the one bringing Liz around trying to find something she’s good at without even thinking about how it made the other students view Liz.
“I really don’t understand anything. I’m so sorry for inconveniencing everyone.”
“…I’m actually kind of surprised you’re reacting that way. I expected you to be more depressed.”
“What do you mean?”
“You just found out that you’ve been causing trouble for other students and you can’t even turn to your family to console you…I would be depressed in that situation.”
For some reason, Liz showed me a slightly lonely smile, but Liz quickly told me the reason for her smile.
“I was a complete and utter failure, but…I thought it was fun to work hard with everyone. It’s something that I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life….”
She felt like it was fun working with the other students — finding out that everyone else was annoyed by you being there would be quite the shock.
“Well…if that’s the case, you should apologize to everyone.”
“Could they really forgive me that easily?”
“Of course, just apologizing with words won’t be enough. You should also show that you’re sorry with your actions.”
“Show I’m sorry with my actions….”
Liz looked down after hearing my words.
“Are you feeling anxious? Will you work hard to show that you’re sorry?”
“I’m not anxious. It’s just that…am I really being selfish by not wanting to get married?”
“Oh, sorry. I didn’t want you to feel that way.”
Everyone in the class has been bringing commoner ideals into a formal setting, while Liz is bringing a nobles ideals into the lives of the commoners.
I don’t think it’s right for them to judge her based on that.
— However, even in the society of the nobles, many of them would feel that Liz has no right to refuse her marriage.
But, I don’t agree with that.
“I think that both you and I really need to think about how what we do affects the lives of everyone else. I also don’t think that it’s selfish of you to be against being forced into a marriage you don’t want.”
“First of all, do you think your parents regret their political marriage?”
“I think…I know that they regret it.”
“See? If that’s the case, you shouldn’t force yourself to do something you hate. Even if you don’t believe it, there are people that can understand how you feel. Liz, you’re not alone.”
At the very least Akane was able to understand how Liz felt. And I’m sure there are other’s that will understand as well.
“…so, that means, Leo is….”
“N-No, it’s nothing! I just want to make up with everyone. I at least want to do that before I go home!”
What does she mean by that?
Before she goes home? I know that she’ll have to go home someday, but the way she said it sounds like….
“When you say go home, does that mean you already know when?”
“ — well, that’s….I-I just misspoke! Hahahaha!”
…what a terrible liar.
“When are they going to pick you up? Or are you planning on leaving yourself?”
“No, it’s just that, I haven’t decided yet.”
“You’re a terrible liar so just tell me when.”
“…in three months. Onii-sama sent me a letter telling me when he’d be coming.”
He’s coming himself this time. I don’t think I’ll be able to just send him away like I did with that knight.
I wonder if I can convince him to stop, similar to what I did with Crane…it would be a lot harder to do without Claire here to help.
In the first place, I don’t even know what family Liz belongs to.
“Hey, Liz, what’s your family name?”
“My family is….”
Liz is still holding back. So she really doesn’t want me to know her family name.
“I’m sorry, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
“…no, I’d like to tell you if it’s not too inconvenient.”
“Are you sure? You don’t have to force yourself.”
“I think I owe you that much. My family and I have already caused you so much trouble…or is that just another noble value and I’m mistaken?”
“No, it won’t cause me any trouble. If you’re okay with telling me, I’d like to hear it.”
I mean, I’m also a nobleman. I don’t see why it would cause me any trouble knowing what family she’s from. Or, at least that’s how I felt before she spoke.
Liz pressed the palm of her hand against her well-developed chest and straightened out her back —
“My full name is Liselotte von Rizelheim. I’m the daughter of the King and I’m twelfth in line to succeed the throne.”
She revealed an unexpected fact.
No way…this girl is Princess Liselotte? A beautiful girl with a gentle personality…the girl with the most beautiful singing voice in this country?
W-Well, if she stays silent I could understand how people would think she has a gentle personality. Well, that would mean there are people that look noisy or obnoxious…that’s not the point.
“Umm…are you seriously the Princess of this country?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Then, why would the Princess come to our school? Even before that, when did you even learn about our school?”
“I came to this school because I wanted to achieve something on my own and the reason I know of this school is that Wells told me about it.”
Wells did say that he provided royalty with clothing, but I didn’t think that he’d tell the Princess about this place.
“So you asked Crane to get you into this school?”
“Yes. When I told him about my circumstances he was more than happy to help.”
I feel like I’m getting into a pretty dangerous situation by essentially helping the Princess run away…well, Crane’s also involved so at the very least I won’t be on my own.
“Then, umm, this will be the last question I have…your brother coming to pick you up is…?”
“Alberto von Rizelheim. The first prince of this country.”
Of course…I’m trying to go up against the Prince.
But that’s fine. The Grances family holds more power than any other noble family. Even if my opponent is the Prince, I’m sure I can stand against him!
— I wish I could remain that confident.
“…I really am causing you trouble, aren’t I?”
“No, that’s definitely not the case. It’s just…unexpected.”
Now it makes sense why Claire didn’t want to use our family name to stand against Liz’s family.
…and that’s why I can’t give up.
I need to do whatever I can to get Liz in a position where she can actually negotiate with her family. We have to achieve something within three months.
It’s not much time but I can’t give up before even trying.
I’ll try to come up with a plan without Liz knowing. I should try to consult Claire as soon as possible.
“I was just surprised. You’re not causing me any trouble, Princess Liselotte-sama.”
The moment I said that Liz looked unhappy. I wonder why?
“…I’m sorry. Did I say something wrong?”
“Yes, you said something very rude.”
She was unexpectedly straightforward. That’s nothing like the Liz I’ve come to know. Still, no matter how I look at it, nothing I said was rude.
“I’m very sorry, Princess Liselotte-sama. Can you tell me what it is that offended you?”
“ — Call me Liz.”
“If you don’t call me Liz, we’re done talking.”
“…are you saying using an honorific is rude?”
In response to my question, Liz’s face turned red.
“I-It’s just that…Leo, you were the first person I ever went out with that treated me equally. — Ah, I didn’t mean for that to sound like I thought we were dating! Please, don’t misunderstand me!”
“It’s fine. I didn’t misunderstand.”
I involuntarily showed a wry smile.
Liz is trying to say that I’m the first person, around her age that’s also the opposite sex, that has ever just hung out with her as a friend. and we’ve been doing that together for the past month.
I think that she feels like she can rely on me and she considers me her friend, but just her friend. There are no romantic feelings between us.
In the first place, I don’t remember ever triggering a flag like that.
In other words, I need to help Liz without triggering that flag.
“We should get back to what we were talking about. It was a little surprising to find out you were a princess but that’s all.”
“Is that all?”
Why does she look disappointed?
She doesn’t want to cause me trouble and doesn’t want me to treat her differently because she’s royalty, but, at the same time, she’s a little disappointed that I’m showing such a mild reaction to this huge revelation.
— that’s more troublesome than anything else so far!
“Are you really not bothered by this?”
“Didn’t I already tell you no?”
I tried to read the expression on her face, but I really couldn’t tell what she was thinking behind her mysterious purple eyes…why do I feel like she has a similar ability to Sophia?
“You really don’t feel that way?”
“What have I been telling you this entire time?”
“…but you really aren’t troubled?”
“Now you’re starting to bother me.”
“I knew you felt that way!”
“You must have misheard me.”
“I know what I heard!”
She then cutely puffed out her cheeks. It was too funny and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
“Wait, why are you laughing…ah!? Are you making fun of me!?”
“Haha, sorry. I was just joking, but I guess you’ve probably never been teased before.”
“Of course not and why are you trying to tease me in the first place?”
“I just thought I prefer seeing this cute side of you rather than seeing you depressed.”
“ — Cu–!?”
“Don’t finish other people’s words! Just, wh-what did you mean by, umm, cute….”
“Yeah. I feel like you’re a cute younger sister that’s always needing my help.”
I said this without any hesitation. I was trying to show that I saw her as a close friend.
— maybe I’m just being overly self-conscious, but I wanted to make sure there were no misunderstandings.
— why is she just smiling to herself? Well, it’s fine. Maybe she’s happy that she’s able to talk with a friend.
“Back to what we were talking about. Liz, since you’re a princess, I really can’t stop your brother from taking you, but we still have three months to do something, right?”
“Eh…yeah, something like that.”
“Then, we can’t give up yet. We have to keep trying until the very end.”
“Yeah, you’re right…I need to apologize to everyone first.”
That’s the best thing to do right now. If she apologizes to everyone, she can get them all to help her as well. With everyone working together, I’m sure we can accomplish something in that time.
I can’t tell how things will turn out, but I won’t give up. If we take things one step at a time, I’m sure we can do this. We first need to start by having Liz apologize to everyone.