Every day was peaceful, and then, just a little boring.
With that man who was my fiance already determined, I didn’t feel the need to go all the way to attend evening parties or tea ceremonies. I spent each day idly in the estate, or rather, silently, working hard at embroidery or reading.
This sounds like an excuse, but that’s just what a daughter of a noble family does. It’s not like the Adina family was giving me a lot of land that I had any space to do some philanthropic work, and it’s not like I was going to succeed my father the way my brother was. While it was fine to a certain extent, it’s not like I could set my heart on the secret art of transcribing magical books in our house. Embroidery and reading were all I could do.
That reminds me, in that daily life full of more free time than I knew what to do with, I was sometimes asked by other noblewomen to ghostwrite letters for them. Since I’d done nothing but read books from a young age, one of my few special skills were writing love letters. Look at my daydreaming power!
They were quite different from the letters I once wrote him, ornamenting my writing style with endless pomp and splendor. And for some reason, they were all delighted at it. But well, I stopped once rumors started going around.
A daughter from a noble family ‘earning money’ is not something admired. There were rumors tarnishing my father’s reputation, saying we lived in such poverty that the daughter was forced to work.
I definitely didn’t stop because I got rolled up in some misunderstanding over my writing love letters and faced a lot of trouble. It also was definitely not because I had already reached my 50’s on the inside and wanted to try out early retirement. Yes, indeed.
I had long given up on going against the customs of marriageable age in this world.
Several years had passed since my reunion with that man and the marriage that had been put off with 「Until I’ve settled down」had no further development, with no hint of him finally taking the next step. I half-felt an impending sense of danger, that it would soon really be unwise to keep putting it off, and the other half of me felt a careless feeling like oh well, whatever. I spent every day thinking I’d just leave home and try really being a ghostwriter if it came to that.
Without realizing just how precious that peace and boredom was.
And then, those days came. The news of the demon king’s comeback shook the world.
I’ll be honest. When I first heard that news, I foolishly thought things like 「LOL demon king, TFW you’re in an RPG.」 And I also thought it was strange that demon kings really exist in the world of swords and sworcery. Basically, I couldn’t grasp that this actually was real. I knew the stories of demon kings and heroes from the picture books I read as a child, but I hadn’t thought that could ever be real. It was also true that my heart throbbed with excitement at the beginning of this high fantasy story.
But that excitement vanished in the blink of an eye.
Endless destruction being caused from demonic beings set free everywhere. Noble families thoughtlessly buying up all the goods and fleeing. The anxiety being whispered about here and there in the royal capital also crept into my own heart.
Somehow or another, I understood this was a war. I had no choice but to understand.
Despite that, I still lived in the capital since I was blessed with being a noble, so I endured it——no, that’s wrong. I wasn’t enduring it, I was averting my eyes from it. I wanted it to be someone else’s problem. Even though a war with the demon king was everyone’s problem.
Even I heard the story that the recent operation to overthrow the demon king, where they sent wizards along with the chivalric order of knights, had ended in a failure. The chief knight, along with a few others, barely escaped with their lives and returned to the royal capital. And then the other day, a hero was finally chosen by the holy sword.
Well then, what was to be the next step?
「Oh goodness, Edi. What are you doing at this time of night?」
That was late at night, the day the news of the hero being chosen had rushed about the country. He had shown up suddenly as usual, drenched in night dew.
I had put on a gown over my night clothes and gone out to bring him in. He spoke frankly, saying this: 「I had an audience with His Majesty.」
「Yes. ——He said I had to defeat the demon king along with the hero.」
I gasped. It was a miracle I could keep myself from screaming. That was how much of a shock I’d received on one hand, but on the other hand, I somehow understood. Ah, I knew it.
It certainly had to be 『me』 and not me who was able to stay so eerily calm. As he looked down at 『me』, he continued matter-of-factly.
「I’ll leave the day after tomorrow, with the princess and the head knight.」
「……That’s a rather urgent matter.」
「It’s so we can’t run away, right?」
He smiled his unchanging smile full of cynicism. If I was myself like usual, I would have tried to smile, scolding him, 「That’s rude!」 But I couldn’t smile then. Instead of smiling, I suddenly thought.
Doesn’t this man truly have a lot of warning flags, foreshadowing things to come in the story?
It took me so long to realize that reality for the first time.
This world is the realm of high fantasy, of swords and sorcery. High fantasy. As I bore that in mind once again, those were terrifying words.
Fantasy, meaning that everyone recognizes something called destiny. The world has already been written out like a future. What one must keep in mind now is that man’s position here.
If he’s the wizard of the party of heroes (hah!), there’s a lot of patterns in place. Amidst them, the most frightening one that anyone could imagine once is the so-called death flag, isn’t it? He could make the hero go ahead and leave himself behind, or use incredible magic that takes his life, or protect the hero, or protect the heroine in place of the hero.
And then, overcoming the death of his friend (the wizard), the hero would take down the demon king along with the heroine and save the world. Yes, the heroine. In this case, the princess holds the heroine’s position.
Thinking this far, I just remembered. 「Hasn’t it already been foreshadowed that this man will be a companion of the princess?」
He described her as 「unusual」. If it was just that, I wouldn’t have kept it in mind but the truth is, that’s not the only thing. Since the first time he met her at the tea party, it seems he keeps being called on by her for something or another.
Let’s set aside the fact that I thought ‘hey, what?! I’m so jealous!’ The problem here, or the important thing here is that, in other words, he and the princess grew closer without me knowing.
The princess famous as the living jewel of the kingdom, and that man, famed as the night fairy. No doubt if they stood together, it would make for a splendid picture. In other words, that man holds one more flag than the death flag. A romance flag, foreshadowing a romance with the princess.
Even if he returned home safely, the likelihood of him still marrying me would be equal to zero. Although the chances of him hitting it off with the princess have lowered since the hero showed up, I can’t imagine that man, who has integrity despite only saying cynical and disagreeable things, to marry me if he already had a lover.
I could easily picture him declaring, 「I want to break off the engagement.」
That’s why I prepared myself for the worst.