Chapter 13 is divided into 3 parts~!
By the way, I’ve also made the necessary edit to correct some mistakes in the previous part, but let me say it here as well:
- Changed Pi-chan or the light spirit’s pronoun from “she” to “it” because we just noticed that its gender was not yet revealed.
- There was a mistake involving active/passive sentence in the previous chapter, particularly this line said by Heronia: “…You, if you didn’t choose me, then you would just become an intelligent doll without a heart, you know?!”. The correct translation should be: “…You, if you hadn’t been chosen by me, then you would just become an intelligent doll without a heart, you know?!”
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Part count of the month: 1 out of 6 parts~!
Bertia 17 Years Old (3)
Translated by LynneSuzuran & Senhiro
“Where is this…?”
When I regained my consciousness, I was in a pure white space.
“…Is this something like my consciousness’ space that’s been influenced by the light spirit?”
I briefly checked over my body, but there weren’t any particular abnormalities.
Well, since I can’t really check my actual body in reality, I can’t definitively say that [I’m all right], though.
“Now then, I wonder what’s the deal with this?”
Thanks to Zeno’s power and the earring that Bertia gave me, for the time being, I don’t feel that things have gotten particularly troublesome.
In order to break through Kuro’s barrier, the light spirit had exhausted its power to the utmost limit. With the spirit’s remaining strength, it should be impossible to maintain this space for a long period of time and to continue imprisoning me like this.
At most, it would last around 10 to 20 minutes, I think?
“It’s unlikely that I wouldn’t be able to get out if I had thoughts of doing so, but rather than trying to recklessly force my way out and risk suffering the after-effects to my unconsciousness, it’d be better for me to wait until the light spirit uses up all of its strength, I guess?”
Considering the remaining quantity of the light spirit’s power, it shouldn’t be able to make any direct attacks on me, while I’m protected by Kuro and Zeno’s powers.
On the contrary, if I were to try to leave this place forcefully, I would have to attack and inflict damage to this space in some way in order to make an exit.
In that case, there’s the likelihood that I might end up attacking too excessively, causing this space to be destroyed or twisted away from its desired shape.
If I have to take such a risk, it’d be better to wait on and not rampage recklessly.
“Though I hope that the spirit will use up all of its strength before Bertia begins to act rashly again.”
I made a bitter smile upon recalling Bertia’s cry that I heard just before I lost consciousness.
Now then, just right at the moment when I began to think about how I should pass the time here until the time-out…
The white space before my eyes began to shine brightly.
I held my hand over my face and shut my eyes in order to avoid the light.
However, that light disappeared in no time.
Feeling that the light faded away from the sensation that passed through my eyelids, I slowly opened my eyes.
Laid out there was a familiar scenery that was completely different from the pure white world just now.
“The audience room… is it?”
A room inside the royal palace that I’ve gone in and out of many times over to attend on my father’s work.
However, when I took a closer look, the ornaments placed and the curtains hanging on the windows were subtly different from usual.
Even so, they were not [unfamiliar things], but [nostalgic things].
“I-it’s a pleasure to meet you for the first time. I am the eldest daughter of Douglas Ibil Noches, the current head of the Noches Marquis family. My name is Bertia Ibil Noches.”
While I was trying to search back into my memories as I gazed around the surroundings, suddenly I heard the childish and charming voice of a child right in front of me.
As if being guided by that voice, my gaze fell to the place where I was standing, which was right in front of the throne.
Several steps away, there was the figure of a girl kneeling alongside with Prime Minister Marquis Noches—it was Bertia.
She was approximately 8 years old.
Her appearance was exactly the same as when I first met her… In other words, she was still in her plump snowman mode as she nervously stared at the floor.
This scene was entirely the same as the time when I was brought to meet Bertia.
…However, for some reason, Bertia’s reaction and expression didn’t match with what I remembered from my memories.
At that time, she should have turned her sparkling gaze at me who was standing next to my father, then introducing herself with a full smile.
I still vividly remember even now that I reflexively let a wry smile leak out towards her unabashed friendliness.
To put it bluntly, the attitude of the girl in front of me right now is more like the attitude of a [normal] noble lady, the proper reaction.
At around her age, most of the noble children should have mastered the skills to read the situation and to pay attention to their etiquette.
That’s why, when even adults would be nervous upon meeting the king and the crown prince in this audience room, it was normal for a child to be overwhelmed by that kind of atmosphere, became scared stiff and awkwardly gave their greetings in a frantic attempt to stay in accordance with the etiquette.
Being full of expressions and displaying simple-minded friendliness while facing this kind of situation, like how Bertia acted during our first meeting, is considered [odd].
But on the contrary, for me, no matter what, I felt that it was [odd] to see this Bertia who wasn’t [odd].
The moment I unintentionally frowned at Bertia who wasn’t acting like herself, I felt a sense of discomfort in my chest.
And the sensation that my fingertips turned slightly colder.
“What is this, this-…”
The moment I put my hand right on top of my heart and wondered at the strange sensation that I couldn’t comprehend, my surroundings were wrapped in light once more.
After closing my eyes tightly, when I opened my eyes again, I was in the royal palace’s garden this time.
It was the garden where Bertia confided in me about the [otome game].
“Could it be?” I thought while looking around my surroundings, and as expected, there were my younger self and Bertia sitting in chairs across from each other, drinking tea.
Looking at that scene, the words that Bertia declared to me at the start in this garden suddenly came to mind: “Your Highness Cecil!! I am a villainess!! My role is to tear at your relationship with the heroine who you’ll meet after entering Halm Academy, and have my engagement called off at the end while receiving my downfall!!”
However, the younger versions of the two of us in front of me at present, were…
“I’m glad to have someone like Lady Bertia as my fiancée.”
“T-thank you very much. I’ll do my best to become a woman worthy of Your Highness.”
I smiled my usual smile and Bertia bashfully smiled back.
Yes. It’s ordinary.
At a place that’s not a bit strange, an ordinary conversation.
But… No, is that exactly why?
It’s extremely boring.
This is not the Bertia I know.
The one who was there was an [ordinary] noble lady who was a bit plump.
Actually, the younger version of me was facing Bertia with a smile, yet he didn’t seem to be having any fun.
It was an expression that looked like I was wearing a mask.
Since it’s myself, I can understand it very well.
The me over there had not the slightest bit of interest in her.
No concern or favor, or delight from the encounter or enjoyment of being together, no disgust, anger or sadness or any other negative emotions either; there didn’t exist a single thing there.
There was absolutely nothing.
The [discomfort] appeared once more in my chest as I viewed the [bland conversation] unfolding in front of my eyes with no emotion.
The [discomfort] this time was more distinct than the previous one.
From my chest… from my fingertips… The [warmth] that should have been there was fading away.
Then, like it was accompanying that feeling, I felt the expressions gradually slipping off my face.
It was a very unpleasant sensation.
It was such a detestable feeling like something precious was forcefully being snatched away, and I realized that I’d uncharacteristically clenched my fists tightly.
My curled fingers all but wouldn’t budge.
When I checked for the reason, I reflexively wrinkled my brows upon seeing my hand.
…My hands had turned into the unmarred arms of a bisque doll before I noticed.
[You, if you hadn’t been chosen by me, then you would just become an intelligent doll without a heart, you know?!]
The words that Baroness Heronia threw at me not too long ago flashed through my mind.
Then, I turned my gaze once more at my younger self who was smiling without emotion as he talked with Bertia.
…It’s the same.
Suddenly, I thought of that.
The younger me in front of myself right now was just like a doll with a smile on its face.
There was not a single human-like emotion carrying the same warmth that I have now.
That was [me].
Therefore, I could tell.
In those days, I was an [intelligent doll without a heart] just like what Baroness Heronia said.
I was merely an existence without a single interest, merely performing the duties given to me indifferently, and expressing emotions befitting of the situation that people were normally looking for.
There was no like or dislike.
Not even good or bad, fun or sadness or even anger… Just a living doll that didn’t have any of them.
That was what I was like at the time.
But that’s precisely why I have one thing that I’ve been wishing for so strongly.
I’ve been wishing for an [existence that could captivate my interest], an [existence that could draw out feelings from me such as… feeling that something is precious].
“That is not [my] Bertia…”
Feeling that the [warmth] called [emotion] that had been collected inside of me little by little ever since meeting Bertia being forcefully snatched away, feeling that I was changing back into that prior “doll” version of myself, I felt a chill running through my spine.
[I hate it], [It’s scary].
I shivered as I felt the unpleasant feelings surging forward within my chest in one go.
I understood that what was happening here wasn’t real.
This place is a counterfeit created by the light spirit—and along with the other [me], I experienced the things happening in this world. The [me] that was created in this world was a mere instrument in which my consciousness was inserted to, but the real [me] that possess thoughts in the real world should still exist, right? 3, and the real body that’s probably unconscious in the real world.]
Perhaps, the light spirit’s influence can only affect the fake [me] and the instrument [me] within that place.
It shouldn’t be able to influence the consciousness of my [true] self that’s connected to the real world.
At most, it’s something like a dream being shown by the light spirit.
…I understood that.
Despite understanding it, as the instrument changed, it felt like there was an illusion that made me feel as if [my] own feelings also changed.
That is a very mysterious, unpleasant, and dangerous sensation.
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- The SFX for taking in a breath. ↩
- The SFX for something tightening. ↩
- This line is kind of confusing so if readers need an explanation, he’s basically saying there’s three versions of himself existing at present: the version of himself that he’s been watching act out his past, the current him who is in the body a doll–[the instrument version ↩